Gambling Watch Scotland



Examining the impact of gambling on the health of our communities


Welcome to our website, produced by The Machine Zone Interest Company, a small organisation with an interest in gambling and the harms it may cause. If you’re experiencing distress just now from your own or somebody else’s gambling please do start by visting our Support and Self-help pages.

Opening up to somebody about what may feel like a shameful secret is hard. We may have vague negative stereotypes about mental health distress generally, and more intensely so about disorders associated with things like drugs, alcohol and gambling disorders. We tend to internalise stigmas society applies to some health problems, stigmas which can blame a person for being weak, bad or ‘unacceptable’, rather than as someone having an illness.

We hope this website gives insights into illnesses that may arise from gambling. Awareness and knowledge shows for a start that you are not alone because millions are suffering directly or indirectly from gambling. Everyone should become aware because there is a good chance you may encounter someone harmed by gambling. Your children, other family members, friends, workmates, employees, 13 year olds in a class you teach. Yourself.

We’re also wanting to make a small contribution to work being done to raise awareness among health and care givers, among local and national politicians, for policy makers, for the media. Only 3% of people with severe issues arising from gambling receive the expert support and care they are entitled to, and we want to see a big improvement from services here.




The website is part of an ongoing project to raise conversations about gambling in Scotland. We’re a community organisation and our aims centre around working in local communities at ‘ground level’. Our future work centres on the communities in Greater Glasgow but much of this site is relevant not only to the whole of Scotland but to the world in which, the World Health Organisation estimates, 7% of people suffer very detrimental effects from gambling.

We’re going to bring you news of major initiatives in Scotland to address gambling harms. We’d love for you to get involved by following us and spreading the word. We’re also committed to a belief that activism at local level can bring not only benefits to the community but also exert influence on those who have the power to introduce policies and resources. There is a section on campaigning and activism in communities.

This website is made possible by an award from Greater Glasgow and Clyde NHS Healthy Minds Anti-Stigma  initiative and we’re also grateful for the close support they have provided. We have also been greatly supported by COPE Scotland, and delighted at the work they have produced and continue to develop around gambling harms. Since early last year, the Scottish Alliance for Health and Social Care has been running an exciting project to address gambling harms in Scotland, putting the voices of Experts by Experience at the heart of things, and we have been privileged to be involved. There’s more on the site about these partners, and also the many fellow campaigners, MPs and academics whose support has given both knowledge and encouragement.



At the heart of the site is a film in which Martin Paterson, a founder of The Machine Zone, gifts us with the story of his gambling life. Brave, heart-wrenching and yet hopeful, Martin’s talk carries more weight than the rest of the site in total.

As well as describing the devastation caused to him and his loved ones by his  gambling, Martin speaks about his campaigning over the past four years.

If you visit only one part of the site, make it here. Do be aware that there are references to thoughts of suicide and a suicide attempt.

It would mean a lot to us if you could send us your reponses to the film.


1.9% of 11-16 year olds are classed as having serious gambling harms.

Affected Others

For every person harmed by gambling between six and ten others are affected, including children.


Gambling harms affect deprived communities more than less deprived ones.


As many as 600 suicides annually in UK. Especially young men. See here.

Send us a message!


 If you need support for gambling damages please check our SUPPORT page. You may need help because of your own gambling. You may be suffering harm because of someone else’s gambling. Perhaps you worry about someone’s gambling and want to help. You may be a young person looking for somehwere to turn. Whoever you are, don’t suffer in silence.