Skip to content
Government Federal, Mental Health

New study shows alarming rates of gambling-related suicide – Findings spark urgent call for government action

Alliance for Gambling Reform 3 mins read

Federal and State Governments must introduce significant gambling harm reforms in the wake of new research that indicates a significant percentage of suicides across Australia are related to gambling.


Suicide Prevention Australia, the Alliance for Gambling Reform and Financial Counselling Australia have come together to demand a significant rethink of the nation’s approach to gambling and finally treat it as a public health issue.


New research undertaken by Federation University in collaboration with the Coroners Court of Victoria, examined the Victorian Suicide Register which showed at least 184 suicides were directly related to gambling and 17 other suicides were by ‘affected others’ such as family members. The research took the latest available data which covered cases between 2009 and 2016.


But the researchers warned the true number of gambling related suicides was likely to be much higher and cited better reporting methods used in Hong Kong which resulted in 20% of all suicides identified as being related to gambling.


Dr Angela Rintoul, Senior Research Fellow at Federation University and lead author of the study said, “Governments in Victoria and across Australia should commit to funding suicide registers.”


“Gambling-related suicides are likely to have increased since 2016 given the compounding effects of COVID-19 pandemic and stress associated with the cost-of-living pressures,” she said.


The three agencies are calling for urgent action including:

  • The establishment of a Federal-State taskforce that is charged with preventing gambling suicides.
  • The full implementation by the Federal Government of the Murphy inquiry recommendations into online gambling, including a full gambling advertising ban.
  • A national strategy for police and coroners to have access to a ‘gambling data vault’ to pick up gambling related deaths and identify the true extent of gambling-related suicides.
  • For gambling related suicides to be reported annually in Parliament, which means that every state coroner needs a unit investigating gambling related suicides.


Suicide Prevention Australia CEO, Nieves Murray said, “We know that gambling harms are often invisible.  Unfortunately, protective factors for suicide, such as social and financial supports are compromised by the financial harms of gambling. This often leaves people vulnerable to risk factors of suicide.”


Ms Murray said the research provided critical insights into gambling-related deaths by suicide in Australia, shining a light on an often- silent suicide risk. The research was funded by the National Suicide Prevention Research Fund and Suicide Prevention Australia manages the fund on behalf of the Federal Government.


The CEO of the Alliance for Gambling Reform, Carol Bennett, said there was an urgent need to reframe gambling as a harmful product rather than a recreational service.


“We must adopt a national public health approach to preventing gambling related deaths consistent with the approach to other products that involve commercial determinants of health such as tobacco, alcohol and other drugs,” she said.


“We know gambling causes financial distress but also poor health, mental health problems such as anxiety and depression, family violence, family breakdown, poverty and homelessness. Now we have evidence of significant numbers of gambling related suicide.”


The Director of Policy and Campaigns at Financial Counselling Australia, Lauren Levin, said

“Financial counsellors and others working at the grassroots know that across Australia people are taking their lives directly because of gambling,” she said.

“We see it in the case work, it is as plain and simple as that. People come in for help and disclose that they are considering suicide because of the impact of their gambling. It is not all about the money or even debt, but often it is about loss of control, about gambling taking over a person’s headspace every hour of the day.”

Ms Levin said families were grieving, often not knowing the role that gambling had played because the financial data is missing from the police and coroners’ reports.

“Not only are gambling related suicides happening, but the attempted suicides are also a marker of harm, and attempts are not being counted,” she said.



To get help 24/7, phone Lifeline on 13 11 14 or the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467. If you or someone you know are in immediate danger, phone 000 for emergency services.


 Help to report about suicide safely is available online: Go to

About us:

The Alliance is the only national peak body working to reduce gambling harm. We have over 60 supporting organisations in our network and 23 leadership local councils in Victoria who have an interest in reducing the exponential level of gambling harm in Australia. We are a registered health promotion charity and are 100% funded by donations from individuals, foundations, trusts, local government and other sources that do not have ties to the gambling industry. We are not affiliated with any political party

The Alliance for Gambling Reform has long advocated for public health reforms that are evidence-based and community-backed with the sole purpose of reducing and preventing gambling harm in Australia. Online gambling is increasingly becoming one of the biggest health issues we are facing as a country.

Contact details:

Martin Thomas – 0477 340 704

More from this category

  • Games Gaming, Government Federal
  • 28/11/2023
  • 17:39
Alliance for Gambling Reform

Vic Govt must act on gambling harm blueprint – State’s $7.5b gambling losses are devastating communities

The Victorian Government must immediately adopt all 61 recommendations of a parliamentary inquiry which has detailed a comprehensive blueprint to dramatically cut gambling harm across the State. The Public Accounts and Estimates Committee (PAEC) report, published today, details a raft of recommendations including the consideration of setting gambling loss limits, reducing the number of poker machines in the State and imposing greater restrictions on gambling advertising. It highlighted that Victorians lost $7.5b in 2022-23 to gambling, rebounding strongly since losses fell due to the pandemic lockdown of recent years. “The PAEC has created a blueprint for dramatically cutting gambling harm…

  • Government Federal, Medical Health Aged Care
  • 28/11/2023
  • 11:28
Public Health Association of Australia

PHAA applauds strong, vital action against vaping epidemic and industry’s targeting of children

28 November 2023 The country’s peak body for public health has welcomed the announcement of the Australian Government’s new vaping regulations, which will come into effect from 1 January 2024. The changes include a ban on the import of disposable vapes, and an expanded access scheme for medical use from the start of 2024. “The vaping epidemic has been mounting for years and has proven to be a threat to the health of our kids,” says Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA) CEO, Adjunct Professor Terry Slevin. “The government has listened to parents, teachers, health experts, and the community in…

  • Contains:
  • Government Federal, Mental Health
  • 28/11/2023
  • 04:00
Australian Suicide Prevention Foundation

Prevent a Suicide: What To Say

Turn Your Mobile Phone Into a Life Saver Send medically-approved texts from the free App “Suicide and attempted suicide are the commonest causes of death and injury between the ages of 15 and 49, male or female, in Australia." (ABS) “Suicide and attempted suicide are the commonest causes of death and injury in our countryat any age between15 and 45. It is more thantwice as common as car accidentsas a cause of death and injury. (Australian Bureau of Statistics; Australian Institute of Health and Welfare).” The Australian Suicide Prevention Foundation today said the fear of not knowing what to say…

Media Outreach made fast, easy, simple.

Feature your press release on Medianet's News Hub every time your distribute with Medianet. Pay per release or save with a subscription.