Gambling impact

The actions of one problem gambler negatively impacts the lives of between five and 10 others. This means there are up to five million Australians who could be affected by problem gambling each year, including friends, family and employers of people with a gambling problem.

One in six people who play the pokies regularly has a severe gambling problem.

People who have a problem with their gambling lose an average of $21,000 a year. That’s a third of the average annual salary. Hard earned money that would otherwise be used to pay bills, pay off the mortgage or take holidays with the kids.

But it’s not just about the money. It’s the harm to themselves and their family. Problem gamblers suffer mental and physical health problems, find it difficult to hold down a job, and struggle to maintain relationships.

For many families, perhaps the biggest loss is the quality of time together, which can never be recovered. People with gambling problems are six times more likely than non gamblers to get divorced. They are four times more likely to suffer from alcohol abuse.

So extensive are the impacts that the social cost of problem gambling to the community is estimated to be at least $4.7 billion each year.

“We have separated now and have been for 12 months and [my ex-wife] still gambles. It was very destructive. I don’t like the disruption it makes to families and I don’t like the way it turns people into liars. It brings so much stress and anxiety to family life and everyone suffers.” Jeffrey - ex partner of a problem gambler