Landmark AIFS research provides a snapshot of Australian gambling behaviour and harm

Content type
Media release
Published

October 2022

Researchers

Rukhsana Tajin, Brendan Quinn, Clement Wong, Karlee O'Donnell, Bosco Rowland, Jennifer Prattley, Kei Sakata, Rebecca Jenkinson

The Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) has released the latest findings from their landmark Ten to Men research series. The report, Gambling participation and harm among Australian men, reveals how men gamble and the effects that gambling poses to men’s health and wellbeing.

The report reveals that in 2020/21, 44% of Australian men aged 18–63 years had gambled in the past 12 months. Most men who gambled spent money on multiple activities, including horse racing (56%), poker machines (54%) and sports betting (46%).

Ten to Men Program Lead, Dr Sean Martin, said that it offers an opportunity to review and drive policy to help improve men's health:

"Ten to Men is the largest longitudinal study of men's health and wellbeing in Australia. By looking at the ways in which men experience a range of harms from gambling, we aim to open conversations with implications for policy and practice."

The report found that one in four men who gambled (27% or around 739,511) were classified as being at risk of, or experiencing, problem gambling in the past year, with over one-quarter (26%) of these men also experiencing financial stress.

In addition to financial harms, gambling can impact relationships and health and wellbeing in a range of ways. Dr Rebecca Jenkinson, Executive Manager of the Australian Gambling Research Centre, said the research found that:

"Men who were at risk of gambling problems were significantly more likely to experience higher levels of anxiety and depression and lower levels of life satisfaction. They were also much more likely to drink alcohol at harmful levels, use illicit drugs and smoke tobacco".

The report, based on a study of around 8,000 participants, is one of four chapters being released by Ten to Men over the coming month, revealing insights that address priority areas of the National Men’s Health Strategy 2020-2030.

The release of the Ten to Men gambling report coincides with the release of findings by another AIFS study, Growing Up in Australia: The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children. That study found a link between playing certain kinds of video games during adolescence and gambling as a young adult, as well as an increased likelihood of young adults gambling if they were exposed to gambling from their parents.

The two reports look at different cohorts and different risk factors, but both show how gambling harms impact a wide cross-section of Australians. As Dr Sharman Stone, Director of AIFS, said: “Both show the range of sociodemographic characteristics of people who gamble in Australia, and the different ways that various cohorts engage with and are impacted by gambling.”

Access the Ten to Men Chapter 1 and LSAC Teenage Gambling snapshots: 

About Ten to Men

Ten to Men is a national research initiative aimed at filling the gaps in knowledge about why males on average have poorer health outcomes than females, and why certain groups of males have poorer health than males in general. The knowledge gained in the study will be used to improve programs and policies for male health in Australia.

The study is longitudinal – meaning that we will return to participants every few years for an update so that we can understand how changing life stages and circumstances might affect health and wellbeing over time.

About Longitudinal Study of Australian Children

Growing Up in Australia: The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC) is a major study following the development of 10,000 children and families from all parts of Australia.

Growing Up in Australia snapshots are brief and accessible summaries of policy-relevant research findings from Growing Up in Australia: The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC). 

See other Growing Up in Australia snapshots in this series.

Media contact:
Lauren Brown
0488 534 201

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