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.