Public Issues Advisory Committee


Approved by the National Council November 2014

Between 80,000 and 160,000 Australian adults have severe gambling problems and the estimated negative social cost of gambling to Australia is at least $4.7 billion, when measured in financial terms.* In human terms, the negative consequences range from financial hardship to family breakdown and suicide.

The risks of problem gambling are low for people who only play lotteries and scratchies, but rise steeply with the frequency of gambling on table games, wagering and, especially, electronic gaming machines (EGMs). EGMs, known colloquially as ‘Pokies’, remain the key form of gambling that causes harm in the community, with more than three quarters of problem gamblers losing their money on the pokies. Of the money lost on Pokies it is estimated that a staggering 40% of the revenue comes from people with gambling problems.*

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* Productivity Commission (2010)