The real cost of gambling harm

An illustration of a hand holding a mobile with dollar signs on the screen and floating around in the air around it

Reducing gambling harm will deliver benefits to all Tasmanians, says a new report from Anglicare Tasmania’s Social Action and Research Centre (SARC).

Launched today to mark the start of Gamble Aware Week, the What’s the real cost? report highlights the ripple effect that gambling harm has on interpersonal relationships, physical and mental health and the wellbeing and productivity of entire communities.

Report author and SARC Coordinator Mary Bennett said recent research indicates that around 57,000 Tasmanians are harmed by someone else’s gambling each year.

“We know that people who gamble tend to under-estimate their losses, and they also significantly under-estimate the impact of their gambling on others, including children,” she said.

“Recent research and feedback from Anglicare’s front line workers makes it clear that gambling harm contributes to family dysfunction, domestic and family violence. It causes psychological and emotional distress and there is growing evidence of its role in suicide. The financial impacts of gambling harm include reduced disposable income and increased debt, crime, and reduced ability to work and study. It affects wellbeing and productivity at a community level.”

Ms Bennett said reducing gambling harm was a policy lever with the potential to positively impact many of the factors that contribute to disadvantage.

“Reducing gambling harm is not only a matter of social justice, it delivers benefits to the Tasmanian economy by improving social, educational, and health outcomes, and increasing productive capacity,” she said.

Ms Bennett said Anglicare welcomed the Tasmanian Government’s recent decision to introduce a mandatory pre-commitment card-based gaming system.

“It’s pleasing to see Tasmania lead the rest of the nation with this important public health measure,” she said. “It’s essential that this new system is implemented in full by December 2024 to help limit the harm caused by poker machine gambling.”

The report also recommends that:

  • state and Australian governments work cooperatively to monitor trends in online gambling and measure the harms resulting from sports gambling;
  • gambling harm be recognised as a risk factor for suicide and suicidal behaviour and included in the Tasmanian Suicide Prevention Strategy 2023-2027. The prevalence of gambling-related suicide and suicidal behaviour in Tasmania needs to be more fully understood; and
  • further assessment of the social and economic costs to Tasmanians affected by other people’s gambling be based on robust methodology, taking into account factors such as financial abuse, coercion and unreported crime.


Gamble Aware Week 31 October – 6 November

This Gamble Aware Week, Anglicare is highlighting simple ways that Tasmanians can reduce the impact of gambling harm.

A community event in Glenorchy today is providing educational activities and links to support services. A full program of events and activities for Gamble Aware Week is available on the Anglicare website.

General Manager Housing and Community Services Noel Mundy said free support is available state-wide through Gamblers Help.

“Gamblers Help is a free, confidential service delivered by Anglicare throughout Tasmania,” he said. “We have professionally trained counsellors who can connect people with measures to limit the harm and take back control, such as self-exclusion.”

Download the 'What's the real cost?' report here


It includes powerful stories featuring real Tasmanians.

To contact Gamblers Help call 1800 243 232. For support after hours, call the National Gamblers Help Hotline on 1800 858 858.


Enquire onlineContact us

Please fill in this form and a representative of Anglicare will reply to your message within two working days. Be sure to provide your complete contact details so we can respond to you.

Click the button below to visit our contact page

Contact us

Or, phone us on

1800 243 232