Australia Finds Connection between Gambling Addiction and Suicides

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A new analysis of coroner’s court data has found a highly unpleasant correlation between gambling addiction and suicides in Victoria, Australia. Over an eight-year span, 184 suicides named gambling addiction as a contributing aspect. Most of these cases involved men aged 17 to 44.

Emergence of Calls to Ban Gambling Advertisements

The report highlights not only the devastating outcomes of gambling addiction but also argues that there is an urgent requirement for more stringent regulations within the gambling industry. It demands an immediate ban on gambling ads in order to protect the vulnerable. This supports the recommendations from a parliamentary inquiry into gambling, which is now being reviewed by the federal government.

Dr. Angela Rintoul from Federation University led the report, which was then published in the Lancet Regional Health Journal. She stated that the real count of gambling-associated suicides could be greater than the number documented. This is because coroners do not always explore the connection to gambling and it is frequently kept hidden from families and medical personnel.

The data from the study ranges from 2009 to 2016. However, there are suggestions that circumstances might have deteriorated since then. Factors such as the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to a boost in online gaming and stress associated with living expenses, are believed to be contributors.

The study also showed a significantly increased probability of suicides within the most disadvantage sectors of society. This discrepancy was linked to the dense presence of poker machines in these communities. The study argues that poor gambling regulations can have terrible implications for those participating in gambling, impacting not only the individual but their families and the broader community.

Renewed Urgency Surrounding Gambling Inquiry’s Suggestions

This study received funding from the National Suicide Prevention Research Fund, which is overseen by Suicide Prevention Australia for the federal government. Nieves Murray, the CEO of Suicide Prevention Australia, stressed the critical nature of implementing the gambling inquiry’s suggestions. She mentioned the often-unseen damage caused by gambling. Murray said that financial difficulties resulting from gambling weaken existing protective measures against suicide, such as financial and social backup.

Carol Bennett, CEO of the Alliance for Gambling Reform, called for a change in gambling regulations. She highlighted the importance of adopting a national public strategy to tackle gambling-induced deaths. It would work in tandem with strategies that are used to combat smoking and drug addiction.

Both campaigners and Dr. Rintoul are calling for parliament to disclose the number of gambling-linked suicides each year. They also urge state coroners to delve deeply into ties to betting.

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