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Rolling the dice on debt: 3.6 million Aussies are gambling more amid cost of living crisis

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Cash-strapped Aussies are turning to gambling as a 'quick fix' as expenses spiral out of control, according to new research by Finder.

A Finder survey of 1,110 respondents revealed almost 1 in 5 Australians (18%) have increased their gambling habit over the past year.

That's 3.6 million Aussies who have upped their spending on everything from powerball to pokies.

The research found 3% are trying to win money because they've fallen behind on bills, while 3% hope to pay off debts.

Millennials (29%) are twice as likely as gen X (12%) to be gambling more.

Alison Banney, money expert at Finder, said Aussies are becoming increasingly desperate.

"Households need financial relief, as all of these increases to household bills mean many people are struggling just to make ends meet.

"Many feel like they have cut back on spending so much that they have run out of options. When you're feeling financially stretched, you can turn to some risky 'solutions', like gambling.

"It's much easier these days to part with your money via the multitude of gambling options now available, both online and in person.

"Many know that the odds of winning are extremely slim, but those who feel backed into a corner with their finances aren't always thinking logically – they're desperate and looking for any possible help going forward."

Finder's research found that 4% of Aussies are gambling more than they were a year ago because it's easier to do than before, while 8% like to gamble due to boredom.

Banney said gambling is never the solution to financial problems.

"Gambling is not the answer if you are unable to pay your bills – it's quite the opposite.

"Even if you have a 'big win', you're likely to feed those winnings back in again as you chase another one.

"With easy access to betting and gambling via mobile phone apps, it can quickly spiral out of control and lead to major financial loss."

Banney urged Aussies to keep money in an emergency fund instead.

"Putting even a small amount away each month, as little as $20, can build over time.

"It's always better to keep any money you would spend gambling in your own pocket, no matter how small."

Have you gambled more in the past 12 months?
Yes, I'm falling behind on my bills3%
Yes, to pay off debts3%
Yes, it's easier to do than before4%
Yes, boredom8%
No, I'm gambling the same amount as I used to14%
No, I'm gambling less than I have20%
No, I have never gambled50%
Source: Finder survey of 1,110 respondents, May 2023

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