A comparison of fraud to fund gambling with fraud for other reasons

Erin Dougherty, Lauren Staples, Loyola Maclean, Toby Machart, Bruce Westmore, Olav Nielssen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In order to compare the characteristics, including diagnosed mental disorder, of people who commit fraud offences to fund gambling with those who committed fraud for other reasons, we examined a complete series of reports prepared for legal proceedings by two of the authors from between January 2002 and June 2019. A total of 160 fraud offenders were located, of whom 48 (30%) reported offending to fund gambling. Females made up 47.5% of the total sample and 43.8% of the gamblers. Of the problem gambling group, 44% had diagnoses of anxiety or depression, 44% had substance use disorder, 17% had bipolar and other psychosis, and 38% reported childhood trauma. There were no significant differences in the frequencies of diagnosis of mental illness or previous criminal convictions compared to the non-gambling group. Two thirds reported only gambling on poker machines. Only 19% of gamblers reported seeking treatment prior to being charged.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)408-417
Number of pages10
JournalPsychiatry, Psychology and Law
Issue number3
Early online date7 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - 4 May 2021


  • addiction
  • fraud
  • gambling
  • gambling treatment
  • mood disorder
  • psychotic illness
  • substance use


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