In this article, the results of the national survey of adult gambling behavior in North Cyprus (NC) in 2012 are presented. The aim of this study is to investigate the characteristics of adults’ participation in gambling, and to determine the prevalence of ‘problem and pathological gambling’ in NC. The population of this study was formed from all the people living permanently in NC, speaking Turkish, and within the age group 18–65. Household interviews were conducted with 966 people. To obtain data, a 30 item questionnaire prepared by the researchers and a Turkish version of the Revised South Oaks Gambling Screen were used. Prevalence rates are compared with the results of the study conducted in 2007 using the same methodology and survey form. The lifetime prevalence of participating at least once in any of the 17 gambling activities investigated in the survey was 66.4 %. 3.5 % of the respondents scored as lifetime probable pathological gamblers and 9.2 % as probable problem gamblers. Risk factors for becoming probable problem and pathological gamblers include being male, being in the 19–28 age group, having a high education level, having a job and being born in Cyprus. This study shows that the prevalence of problem gambling is high in NC and increasing gradually. NC has socio-cultural features such as a history of colonization, socioeconomic problems and high unemployment, similar to other high prevalence gambling regions, which is suggestive of the importance of socio-cultural factors on gambling behavior.