Betting shops

Betting shops have been part of Scotland’s high streets since 1961, when they were first legalised. Many of our shops have served their local communities for decades, becoming well established community hubs where customers can meet friends, watch live sport and enjoy a bet. In villages, towns and cities across Scotland there is an emphasis on staff getting to know their customers and creating a welcoming retail environment where people can bet responsibly.


Supporting community and economic development

Every year, around 650,000 people in Scotland visit a high street bookmaker. At a time when many town and city centres are struggling with the loss of familiar high street names and face increasing competition from out of town retail parks and online retailers, betting shops provide an important economic stimulus for the retail sector, attracting customers into our centres and filling the retail void left by the 2008 crash.

Indeed, studies show that betting shops add to the vibrancy of our town centres and generate footfall for other high street retailers. In a recent survey of customers by 'esa retail', 62% of customers said that visiting the bookmakers was the main reason for their trip to the high street, while 89% said they combined their trip with visits to other local businesses at least sometimes. In Glasgow, 39% of respondents said they usually spend more than £20 in other local shops.

"Bookmakers have a positive impact on pedestrian footfall, which should in turn help to benefit other shops in the area through linked trips."

(esa retail)

Bookmakers also make a substantial contribution to the national economy. Across Scotland, betting shops employ 5,000 people and contribute around £235 million in taxes, business rates, rent, staff salaries and support for Scottish racing through the horse racing levy and media payments. Unlike many other retailers, bookmakers are exempt from the Small Business Bonus Scheme and therefore pay significantly more in business rates than many of their retail counterparts.

Celebrating success in the community

In communities across Scotland, shop staff are active in their local neighbourhoods, raising funds or volunteering for local sports clubs, charities and environmental projects. To celebrate the contribution betting shop staff make in their community, ABB Scotland launched its first ever Community Betting Shop of the Year award, attracting entries from across Scotland. Ladbrokes in Dunoon was named winner by an independent panel of judges, with William Hill in Johnstone and Scotbet in Selkirk taking second and third place respectively.

Ladbrokes, Dunoon named community betting shop of the year

Meet the winning team>



Bookies campaign to beat prostate cancer

A campaign to raise awareness about prostate cancer has been held in betting shops across Scotland. Earlier this summer, Prostate Cancer UK partnered with ABB Scotland and William Hill to raise awareness about the disease which affects one in eight men at some point in their lives. Over the four-month partnership, prostate cancer information was distributed to William Hill's 310 shops in Scotland and staff and customers helped raise £25,000 to help fund vital research into the disease which still kills around 1,000 men in Scotland every year. ABB Scotland part funded the campaign.

More Information >

Pictured: Volunteers and staff from Prostate Cancer UK and William Hill.

Dozens of MSPs from all parties have signed a Motion in the Scottish Parliament welcoming the campaign.
Here is a small selection of the many politicians we've met in a bid to raise awareness about the disease.



Championing Scottish Sport

As well as making a substantial contribution to Scotland's economy, our members also invest heavily in Scottish football from the grass roots to the top flight, including sponsorship of the SPFL and Scottish Cup. High street bookmakers also contribute to the success of Scottish horseracing through a compulsory levy and sponsorship of some of our most iconic race events, including the Scottish Grand National, Ayr Gold Cup and Lanark Silver Bell.

Our support for Scottish sport

  • Sponsors of SPFL and Scottish Cup

  • Backing for grass roots sport

  • £31 million invested in horseracing

  • Sponsors of Scotland's biggest races

  • £302 million generated for Scotland's economy from horseracing