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The social cost of gambling to Victoria

Browne, M, Greer, N, Armstrong, T, Doran, C, Kinchin, I, Langham, E & Rockloff, M

Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation
November 2017


The research aimed to assess the social costs associated with gambling in Victoria in financial terms.

Phase one of the study reviewed previous attempts to quantify the cost of gambling.

Because previous studies mainly excluded low-risk and moderate-risk gamblers, and costs tended to focus only on people experiencing severe levels of harm (using the Problem Gambling Severity Index) – this study broadened the calculation to include all gambling severity levels: low-risk, moderate-risk and problem gambling.

The second phase of the study estimated the costs of gambling to Victoria for all severity levels. It was found that when low-risk and moderate-risk categories were included, the cost of gambling in Victoria in 2014-15 totalled $7 billion, as compared to a previous figure of $2.4 billion when including only the more severe, but less prevalent, problem gambling group.

The research categorised the types and costs of gambling harm as follows:

  • $2.2 billion – family and relationship problems
  • $1.6 billion – emotional and psychological issues, including distress, depression, suicide and violence
  • $1.3 billion – financial losses through, for example, excessive spending on gambling, bankruptcy and illegal offshore gambling
  • $1.1 billion – costs to the Victorian government, such as research, regulation, and professional support services, including mental health and homelessness services
  • $600 million – lost productivity and other work-related costs
  • $100 million – costs of crime, including to businesses and the justice system.


Browne, M, Greer, N, Armstrong, T, Doran, C, Kinchin, I, Langham, E & Rockloff, M 2017, The social cost of gambling to Victoria, Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation, Melbourne.

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