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Crime and problem gambling: A research landscape

The report of the Commission on Crime and Problem Gambling

  • ISBN: 978-1-911114-45-1

  • Published: 2020

  • Pages: 44

  • Publisher: The Howard League for Penal Reform


Crime and Problem Gambling: A Research Landscape

An academic literature review prepared for the Howard League’s Commission on Crime and Problem Gambling which reveals a dearth of knowledge worldwide about the links between crime and problem gambling.

The literature review covers jurisdictions including Australasia, the US, Canada, Germany, Scandinavia and the UK. It reveals that, while the overall quantity of research is not huge, there is a consistency in findings across all jurisdictions including high prevalence rates of people committing crimes to fund their gambling; a wide variety of crimes are committed as a result of gambling addiction; not just ‘white collar’ crimes such as theft and fraud, but also offences that occur in public spaces such as street robbery; and there is significant evidence of domestic abuse and child neglect linked to problem and pathological gambling. Studies have indicated that the more complex, prolonged and persistent a gambling problem is, the more likely it is that a crime will be committed and, indeed, that many crimes may result. The review also covers the relationship between the identification and acknowledgement of problem gambling and the response of the criminal justice system.

The literature review was written by Sarah Ramanauskas, Senior Partner at Gambling Integrity, who sits on the Commission. Because of the complexities of Australian gambling legislation, the review was sent to representatives of the Australian gambling industry for approval prior to publication.

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