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Gambling in Victoria

Community attitudes survey 2023: Stigma from gambling harm

The 2015 Foundation-funded study The stigma of problem gambling: causes, characteristics and consequences found that while around 96 per cent of Victorians think problem gambling is an addiction, many also see it as a matter of personal responsibility.

Although more than half of Victorians believe it is diagnosable, and a third consider it a mental health condition, problem gambling is often attributed to individual characteristics, such as being impulsive, foolish or greedy.

A recent qualitatively led online panel survey conducted with 363 adults who gamble in Victoria and New South Wales showed that people who gamble hold stigmatising beliefs and see harm as a matter of personal responsibility.

Stigma can deter people experiencing gambling harm from talking to someone or seeking support. Breaking down stigma is one of the Foundation’s highest priorities.

In our 2023 community attitudes survey, we asked participants about the issue of stigma.

How do you think most Victorians feel about people experiencing gambling problems?

The vast majority of Victorians (94 per cent) agreed that gambling can be addictive and just under one in eight (77 per cent) felt sorry for people experiencing problems with gambling.

Around half of those surveyed agreed most people would treat a person with gambling problems differently:

  • 56 per cent agreed most people think people with gambling problems are unreliable
  • 57 per cent agreed most people believe people with gambling problems have no self-control
  • 41 per cent agreed many people would avoid being friends with a person who has problems with gambling
  • 34 per cent agreed we shouldn’t be spending taxpayers’ money to help people with a gambling problem.

Do you think it’s easy for someone to stop gambling?

Seventy-six per cent of the community don’t think it’s easy for people experiencing gambling harm to stop gambling.

Around eight in ten people (82 per cent) surveyed agreed that it is possible to recover if you have a problem with gambling.

For more on addressing stigma, see the 2016 Foundation-funded study Lessons for the development of initiatives to tackle the stigma associated with problem gambling.

Read more about how the community attitudes survey was conducted.

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