What’s the Real Cost of Gambling?

1st to 10th September 2023

This first week of Gamble Aware Month, we focus on raising awareness of the impact that gambling has on the lives of Tasmanians.

Gambling harm describes the negative consequences experienced as a result of gambling.

Like ripples in a pond, these harms can spread out from the person who gambles, to their friends and family, the wider community and the economy.

The featured figures and infographics are drawn from our Social Action and Research Centre report ‘What’s the Real Cost?’.

Gambling Harm

The gambling-related harm happening in Tasmania falls into three main categories:

  • Harm to health – negative mental and physical effects, including psychological and emotional distress.
  • Harm to resources – financial impacts such as a reduced disposable income, increased debt, reduced performance and engagement in work and study, and associated criminal activity.
  • Harm to relationships – impacts at the social and community level including harm to family functioning, domestic violence and abuse, and impacts on children.


A diagram with the heading 'Lifetime, generational and Intergenerational'. It shows the different ways that gambling harms people impacted. The people impacted are the Gambler, the friends and family and the community and economy. The three main impact areas are Health, Relationships and Resources. The specific impacts are psychological, physical, word/study, financial, criminal, cultural and social.

Did you know?

Tasmanians lose over $1 million a day on gambling. Tasmanians lost $393 million on gambling in 2021-22. Over 57,000 Tasmanians are harmed by someone else's gambling. Only 1 in 5 people experiencing harm from their own gambling seek help. 200,000 children in Australia are exposed to harm from parental gambling. Gambling is associated with a 4 times higher risk of suicide. 80% of gamblers keep their harmful gambling secret from the people around them.

Counselling can help reduce the harm

Case Study: Gail

A gambler's help counsellor said 'There were all these things that she was now experiencing at 70 years old. It was so cool.

Gail is 70 and lives on the age pension.  She enjoys gambling but would not say that she has a problem.  However, when she found herself facing some unexpected bills, she decided to contact Gamblers Help and request a period of self-exclusion while she got on top of things.

It didn’t take Gail long to pay off the bills and then she found that she was saving money.  For the first time in ten years she was able to fly to Queensland to visit her daughter Sue and her grandsons Joey and Daniel, who she described as “the bee’s knees”.

At the end of the self-exclusion period, Gail contacted Gamblers Help to have it extended.  She told the counsellor that during the period of self-exclusion she didn’t feel like gambling at all.  She couldn’t believe she would previously sit at a machine for hours just putting money into it and walking away with nothing.  Her trips to see family were far more valuable than gambling.

She discovered she could do many things that she had not been able to do before.  She is able to buy Christmas gifts for her grandchildren and no longer has the stress of making up excuses why she can’t afford them.  She has also joined a film class, a poetry class and a book writing group.

Do you need support?

Anglicare Tasmania provides a range of free support services for family and friends affected by gambling harm.

Visit Gambling Support Services



'What's the Real Cost?' Research Report

The ‘What’s the Real Cost?’ report was published by Anglicare Tasmania’s Social Action and Research Centre in October 2022.

It explores the real cost of gambling in Tasmania, drawing on data from Anglicare Tasmania’s services and real life case studies.

Download PDF 'What's the Real Cost?' Report

An image of the front of the 'What's the real cost?' report.

Quick links to other weeks