U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Gambling as a Motivation for the Commission of Financial Crime

NCJ Number
Yuka Sakurai; Russell G. Smith
Date Published
June 2003
6 pages
This document examines one of the social problems associated with gambling -- the commission of financial crime by individuals trying to obtain funds to gamble with.
Gambling is a popular form of entertainment in Australia. With the advent of poker and gaming machines, casinos, TABs, and lotto-style games, there has been a substantial growth in the gambling industry. Eighty-two percent of the Australian adult population engaged in some form of gambling in 1997-98, with gambling taxes and levies paid to State and territory governments nearly doubling over the past 10 years. Presently, adult Australians spend $13,839 million a year on gambling, or $901 per adult per year. With increasing opportunities and venues for gambling, public concern about problem gambling has grown. Although the number of problem gamblers appears to be small, they contribute to approximately one-third of the total expenditure on gambling in Australia. In order to support their expenditure on gambling, problem gamblers may seek alternative sources of income, such as borrowing money from family, friends, and colleagues; selling their assets; and seeking out illegal sources of money. Illegal activity is generally a last resort, but the question arises as to what extent crime is driven by gambling. There are difficulties in determining the extent of gambling-related crime, such as a lack of objective data concerning the criminal offenses reported, and the tendency of gambling-related offending to be unreported or undetected. Gambling-related crime is usually limited to nonviolent property crime, such as theft, shoplifting, embezzlement, and misappropriation of money. The presence of gambling can be relevant to the determination of sentence in judicial response. If it is accepted that the crime was caused principally because of a compulsive disorder, the sentencing judge may be willing to consider a reduction in sentence or their imposition of a conditional order requiring the offender to undergo counseling. Gambling seems usually to be taken into account as an explanation for the crime committed, but not as an excuse. 1 figure, 1 table, 2 notes, 19 references