According to a recent survey conducted by the ANU Centre for Gambling Research, approximately 44,000 people in the ACT, or 14 per cent of the population, were impacted by their own or someone else’s gambling in the past 12 months. 

The survey, which was released as a part of Gambling Harm Awareness Week, reported that 60 per cent of the ACT’s population had engaged in some form of gambling in the last 12 months. 

While a loss of savings and spending money were the most common types of harm experienced, emotional impacts were also common. Many of those who reported harm highlighted an increase in arguments, breakdowns in communication, feelings of anger, lack of trust, and stress or anxiety. 

CEO of ACT Gambling and Racing Commission David Snowden commented that “[h]arms from gambling might seem small at first, but it can escalate quickly and significantly impact a person’s life. We encourage you to work together as a community and empower those affected to seek assistance.”

The survey also emphasised a disproportionate impact on young men, finding that they are twice as likely to be classified as at-risk or problem gamblers than women.

The findings reveal the significant increase in gambling online, expanding from 8 per cent in 2014 to 21 per cent in 2019. However, poker machines remain the most predictive form of problem gambling.

The number of participants increased from 7,000 in 2014 to over 10,000 in 2019, with the survey also, for the first time, interviewing in languages other than English.

Centre Director and lead author Dr Marisa Paterson concluded their statements by saying “[w]e need to seriously consider gambling and its role in our community.”

The survey was funded by the ACT Gambling and Racing Commission.

For more information about Gambling Harm Awareness Week, and gambling harm prevention in the ACT, visit act.gov.au/dontplayitdown.