Australians stole $100 million to gamble in the last five years

Peter Terlato 1 September 2016

Gambling pokies

EFT fraud, theft of cash and false invoicing are the most common gambler crimes.

Up to 500,000 Australians are at risk of becoming, or are already, problem gamblers. New research shows the extent of this issue, exposing more than $100 million in funds stolen specifically for gambling purposes.

Warfield & Associates' latest study, Gambling Motivated Fraud in Australia 2011-2016, reports 265 criminal cases of gambling-related fraud involving 267 offenders, more than half of them (57%) male.

In the last five years, Aussies stole more than $104 million; the largest transaction totalling $7.8 million.

217 organisations were affected by gambling fraud in the last half decade, with 148 cases of employee fraud.

Employee fraud also contributed to 20 of the 26 cases where fraud exceeded $1 million.

Men were the biggest perpetrators of fraud, stealing over $67 million in order to gamble, compared with just $37 million by women.

Age is no barrier when it comes to gambling-related theft. The youngest convicted felon was 18, while the oldest offender was aged 78 years.

Victoria was home to the greatest number of frauds and the most substantial overall monetary losses.

Access to funds obviously plays a big role in determining who steals gambling funds, with financial staff most likely to commit fraud against their employer.

And the most prevalent types of fraud? EFT fraud, theft of cash and false invoicing.

Almost one fifth (19%) of all offenders had a prior criminal history and, as was the case in prior studies, there were high levels of depression reported among many of the perpetrators.

Also consistent with past studies was the fact that poker machines were far and away the most regular mode of gambling by criminal offenders.

Did you know that your gambling habits could influence your ability to qualify for a home loan? Don't turn a blind eye. Our comprehensive guide can help you stamp out your debt-ridden lifestyle once and for all.

If you think you have a gambling problem, call Gambling Help on 1800 858 858.

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