Many gambling related crimes go unreported

May 28th, 2009 - 12:49 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, May 28 (IANS) A substantial percentage of gambling-related crimes goes unreported, because it is ‘invisible’ to authorities, says a new study.
The research project, jointly conducted by Auckland University of Technology (AUT) and the University of Auckland, has elaborated on the links between gambling and criminal activity.

“It raises the possibility of the existence of two categories of crime-committing gamblers, exhibiting different chronologies of gambling and criminal behaviour,” said Maria Bellringer, co-director of AUT University’s Gambling and Additions Research Centre.

From previous studies, carried out with prison inmates in 2000, Bellringer and her team understood that crimes were committed to pay off gambling debts.

She also noted that for some, their crimes caused their gambling, or they gambled instead of committing crime. “We are now seeing the same trends amongst gamblers who are not incarcerated,” added Bellringer

Almost 22 out of 33 participants said their first gambling-related crime was in the same year as, or just a few years after, starting regular gambling. For those already engaging in crime, criminal behaviours started a few years prior to commencement of regular gambling.

Eighty five percent recognised that their gambling had caused harm to others, including family or extended family. “There is substantial unreported gambling-related crime which is ‘invisible’ to the authorities,” said Bellringer, according to an AUT release.

“This raises the possibility that there may be significant economic and social costs associated with gambling, due to unreported crime committed by gamblers who have not previously been factored into economic and social impact analyses of gambling.”

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