Mention poker and images of Monte Carlo, James Bond, impossibly glamorous women and astronomically high stakes spring to mind.
But Scottish pubs have now emerged as an unlikely home of the card game. A pub poker league, which allows experts and beginners alike to compete, has taken the nation’s bars by storm.
In just two years, the league has become a social phenomenon, going from nothing to 80 venues taking part, with new ones opening every month.
However, some see a rise in gambling as potentially dangerous.
Morag Mylne, the convener of the church and society council of the Church of Scotland, said: “The Church of Scotland is particularly concerned with the effect of gambling on vulnerable people, and on young people who are already relatively poor – it offers false hope as a route out of poverty.”
Major Ivor Telfer, the West Scotland divisional commander of the Salvation Army Scotland, added: “We are concerned with the how gambling is being normalised in Scotland. It is becoming a way of life – you can’t go anywhere without the opportunity to gamble. We are also concerned about the mixing of gambling with alcohol. Many of the people we help at the Salvation Army have become addicted to both alcohol and gambling.”
Full story at Scotland on Sunday.