The number of gamblers seeking help for their addiction has risen dramatically since the start of the pandemic.
GamStop, which enables gamblers to exclude themselves from online betting companies, reported a 23 per cent increase in people seeking help across the UK.
Experts are concerned about gambling in Scotland, and young Scots in particular, with a recent survey by the Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland indicating nearly a quarter of young people between 11 and 26 years old have gambled in the last twelve months.
Geraldine Bedel of Parent Zone, a group which campaigns to keep children safe online, said there is an increasing blurring of the lines between video gaming and gambling.
She said loot boxes, which give an unknown prize to a player and can be bought or earned in-play, are a problem.
“Loot boxes borrow techniques from gambling to keep children playing and paying – and we know that heavy loot box use is linked to problem gambling. This is normalising gambling for children”.
Danielle Rowley of Samaritans Scotland, a suicide prevention charity, warned there is “a clear link between gambling and suicide” and said much more needs to be done to reduce the impact of gambling on children.
She added: “The gambling industry must take more responsibility”.