September 12, 2023 3 min read


Study Reveals Link Between Gambling Addiction and Suicides in Victoria

These findings, led by Dr. Angela Rintoul from Federation University and published in the Lancet Regional Health Journal, have raised concerns about the hidden and potentially underestimated impact of gambling on mental health

A recent study analyzing coroner’s court data has uncovered a disturbing link between gambling addiction and suicides in Victoria, Australia. Over an eight-year period, gambling addiction was identified as a contributing factor in 184 suicides, with the majority of cases involving men aged between 17 and 44. 

Calls for Immediate Gambling Ad Ban Emerge as Study Uncovers Hidden Suicides

The report not only sheds light on the tragic consequences of gambling addiction but also underscores the need for stricter regulations in the gambling industry. It calls for an immediate ban on gambling advertisements to protect vulnerable individuals, reinforcing recommendations from a parliamentary inquiry into gambling currently under federal government consideration, reported The Guardian.

Dr. Rintoul emphasized that the actual number of gambling-related suicides might be higher than reported, as gambling is not consistently investigated by coroners and is often concealed from both families and healthcare professionals. The study’s data spanned from 2009 to 2016, suggesting that the situation may have worsened since then due to factors like the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw a surge in online gaming and increased stress related to the cost of living.

Moreover, the study revealed a considerably higher likelihood of suicides happening within the most disadvantaged demographic. This disparity was attributed to the higher concentration of poker machines in poorer communities. The report asserts that inadequate regulation of gambling can result in severe consequences for individuals who engage in high-risk gambling, their families, and society as a whole.

The study was funded by the National Suicide Prevention Research Fund, managed by Suicide Prevention Australia on behalf of the federal government. Nieves Murray, chief executive of Suicide Prevention Australia, emphasized the urgency of accepting the recommendations of the gambling inquiry. She stated that they were aware that the harms caused by gambling were often not easily visible. She also noted that the financial harms of gambling compromised the protective factors against suicide, such as social and financial support, which, in turn, exposed people to risk factors.

Carol Bennett, the chief executive of the Alliance for Gambling Reform, called for a change in the regulation of gambling. She emphasized the need to embrace a national public health approach to prevent gambling-related deaths, aligning it with the approach applied to other products influenced by commercial health determinants, like tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs.

Campaigners, along with Dr. Rintoul, are advocating for annual reporting of gambling-related suicides in parliament, requiring state coroners to investigate connections to wagering. 

While the gambling industry is pressuring the federal government to water down the inquiry’s recommendations, harm reduction advocates are calling for decisive action following the inquiry to ensure transparency and public scrutiny. Another study examining the relationship between gambling problems and suicide risk among Australian veterans has also revealed a concerning connection.

The research, based on data from the Transition and Wellbeing Research Program, found that over 13% of transitioned veterans reported gambling issues, which were associated with trauma exposure, depression, and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. Additionally, the study identified a strong correlation between gambling problems and suicidal tendencies among veterans, emphasizing the need for regulatory interventions and support programs within veteran-specific services to address these risks.


Silvia has dabbled in all sorts of writing – from content writing for social media to movie scripts. She has a Bachelor's in Screenwriting and experience in marketing and producing documentary films. With her background as a customer support agent within the gambling industry, she brings valuable insight to the Gambling News writers’ team.

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