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 journalArticle


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
Number of pages10
JournalPsychiatry, Psychology and Law
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 Jul 2020


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

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    Dougherty, E., Staples, L., Maclean, L., Machart, T., Westmore, B., & Nielssen, O. (2020). A comparison of fraud to fund gambling with fraud for other reasons. Psychiatry, Psychology and Law. https://doi.org/10.1080/13218719.2020.1780644