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Useful web resources

Gambling Support Program

Provides a public health response to the risks and harms of gambling through community education, community grants, provision of services for people affected by gambling, policy development and research.

Know Your Odds

A website addressing gamblers’ misunderstandings about how commercial gambling works.

Gambling Help Online

Information, resources, help and support

Tasmanian Liquor and Gaming Commission

Tasmanian industry data

Australian Government Department of Social Services – Communities and Vulnerable People

Information on the Commonwealth Government’s responses to problem gambling in Australia.

Australian Government – Australian Institute of Family Studies – Australian Gambling Research Centre

Publications and resources for policy-makers, researchers and professionals in the gambling area.

Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation

Research, resources


Productivity Commission 2010, Gambling, Report no. 50, Canberra.

Acil Allen Consulting, Deakin University, Central Queensland University And The Social Research Centre. 2017. Fourth Social and Economic Impact Study of Gambling In Tasmania: Report 1. Tasmanian Department Of Treasury and Finance, Hobart.

Tasmanian Liquor and Gaming Commission Annual Report 2016-17

Know Your Odds

Delfabbro, Paul, Anna Thomas, and Andrew Armstrong. “Observable Indicators and Behaviors for the Identification of Problem Gamblers in Venue Environments.”Journal of Behavioral Addictions 5.3 (2016): 419–428. PMC. Web. 5 June 2018.

McQuade, Anne and Gill, Peter. The role of loneliness and self-control in predicting problem gambling behaviour [online]. Gambling Research: Journal of the National Association for Gambling Studies (Australia), Vol. 24, No. 1, May 2012

Gambling Help Online – Understanding Gambling: Impact on Health: Gambling and alcohol

Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation – Prevention projects for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) Communities

Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation – Background Paper. Risk factors for problem gambling: environmental, geographic, social, cultural, demographic, socio-economic, family and household. 2015

University of Tasmania Faculty of Health: Centre for Rural Health 2018 – Occurrence and Correlates of Gambling Behaviour among International UTAS Students, A report commissioned by the Department of Health and Human Services Tasmania

Dickins, M., & Thomas, A. (2016). Gambling in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Communities in Australia (AGRC Discussion Paper No. 7). Melbourne: Australian Gambling Research Centre, Australian Institute of Family Studies.

Hing, N., & Breen, H. (2014). Indigenous Australians and gambling (AGRC Discussion Paper No. 2). Melbourne: Australian Gambling Research Centre

At Odds: Young Australians Gamble “Hard and Fast”

Thomas, S. and Jackson, A. (2008). Report to beyondblue: Risk and Protective Factors, Depression and Comorbidities in Problem Gambling, Monash University and University of Melbourne; Department of Human Services (2009). Because mental health matters: Victorian Mental Health Reform Strategy 2009-19, Mental Health and Drugs Division, Department of Human Services, Melbourne.

Interactive Gambling (November 2014). Australian Gambling Research Centre Discussion Paper – Gainsbury, S.  et al

Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation – Gen Bet: Has Gambling Gatecrashed our Teens? 2017

Australian Productivity Commission (1999) Australian Gambling Industries, Report No.10, AusInfo, Canberra

Gambling Motivated Fraud in Australia 2011 – 2016 Warfield and Associates


3Problem gambling


Anthony’s gambling problems started with his first bet, when he was 14.

Gambling continuum

To understand the range of gambling behaviour it’s helpful to think of a ‘continuum’. On one end of the continuum there are people who don’t gamble at all, then there are people who only gamble a little bit, and not very often. Then there are people who gamble regularly and can control how much they spend (lose). On the other end there are people with serious problems with gambling. You can see the range of behaviours and the types of harm on this chart.

‘Liz’ talks about her pathway from social gambling to problem gambling

The gambling continuum

These links change the content of the following slideshow

No problems

Gambling as

  • Entertainment
  • Hobby
  • Social Activity
  • Pleasant Surroundings

Moderate problems

Can be seen as

  • Chasing losses

    Chasing losses

    Many people who lose money gambling continue their betting and increase the amount of their bets in order to recoup their losses. Chasing losses can lead the person to gamble with more than he or she can afford to lose, and often to borrowing money in an effort to get even.

  • Guilt
  • Arguments
  • Concealment of gambling

    Concealment of gambling

    People who have gambling problems often try to hide it from friends and family members. Many report lying as a common aspect of their problem gambling.

  • Some depression
  • High expenditure

Severe problems

Can present as

  • Depression


    Some people gamble to deal with their psychological problems, but problem gambling may also worsen existing psychological problems. It tends to cause the most harm to those who are most vulnerable. It may also create psychological problems in people who did not previously have any mental illness.

  • Serious suicide thoughts
  • Divorce
  • Debt and poverty
  • Crime


    Compulsive gambling is often linked with fraud and other criminal activity. Some people with gambling problems have been found to steal from family members, friends, employers, and clients of their businesses.

  • Domestic and family violence

    Domestic and family violence

    Gambling problems are associated with family violence. People with gambling problems are more likely than people without gambling problems to be victims and perpetrators of ‘intimate partner violence’.

  • Harmful use of drugs and alcohol

    Harmful use of drugs and alcohol

    Up to 70% of problem gamblers have an alcohol dependency.
    Up to 38% of problem gamblers have a drug use problem.
    Up to 15% of people receiving treatment for drug use problems are also problem gamblers.
    Up to 60% of problem gamblers have a nicotine dependence.

Different things influence how a person moves from one level to the next through this continuum, e.g. the person’s knowledge of the risks, the type of gambling product used, personal differences between people, people’s circumstances, and whether they had an early win. People can move in both directions across the continuum – sometimes adjusting their gambling frequency and betting amounts to a safer level, including stopping altogether.

If the gambling is on poker machines, the person can move through this continuum in just a few months due to the high intensity and speed of poker machine gambling, and the way the person can become mesmerised while playing. This can result in them losing track of time and money, which can lead to a gambling addiction.

Thomas describes his pathway into gambling addiction.

As people move through the continuum, they experience an increasing loss of control over their gambling- e.g.  more time spent, more money spent, and increasingly gambling alone.

As loss of control increases, harm to themselves and others usually increases also, e.g. going without food, rent and bills not paid.

As the person’s gambling reaches the excessive or compulsive level, the person often has a feeling of being out of control and has some awareness of the harm being caused, but may feel unable to stop. They may also (wrongly) believe that it’s all their fault and that there is no hope.

Chasing losses can lead the person to gamble with more than he or she can afford to lose.

When the gambling is at the compulsive level, the person is usually very distressed and does things which are different to their usual behaviour, e.g. deceiving family and friends, criminal acts and being in heightened emotional states such as being angry, sad and anxious.

A person with a gambling problem often has a compulsion to keep gambling even if it causes problems in their life. Eventually gambling can affect their physical and emotional health, finances, relationships, work and study.

Many people are able to recognise the symptoms of an impending problem and are able to control this compulsion themselves, sometimes with family or community support.

Some people with gambling problems find it difficult to stop and may need to seek professional help before their problem affects their health. With professional help such as counselling people can overcome a gambling problem.

Other people with gambling problems may have a disorder that requires medical attention.


Certain behaviours can indicate a person may be developing a gambling problem. These include:

  • Becoming withdrawn from others/family events
  • Performance at work is being affected
  • Seeming worried, agitated or upset for no apparent reason
  • Reporting feeling hopeless, depressed, frustrated or suicidal*
  • Changes in personality - sleeping, eating, or sexual relationship patterns
  • Controlling and/or manipulative behaviour
  • Using threats, lies or charm to manipulate others

‘Wendy’ realised she had a problem with gambling when she started having suicidal thoughts*