#1137 for broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 11 October 2015
A bright blue bar graph did the rounds of social media this week, depicting the average gambling losses per adult in 2014 for a range of countries.
The graph, published in The Sydney Morning Herald last month, shows statistics for 15 developed countries, with New Zealand in sixth place on $602 gambling losses per person, the U.S. in third place with $705, with Singapore in second place with a whopping $1243, and Australia in first place with $1279.
A Productivity Commission report in 2010 found there was an overall net benefit to the economy from gambling of between $3.7 billion and $11.1 billion, but the costs to problem gamblers were substantial and devastating, ranging from $4.7 billion to $8.4 billion.
To our collective shame, Australians lead the developed world on gambling losses. We love losing money. And that, for some, means losing their job, their house, their family, even their life. This can’t go on. Our state and federal governments must do more to minimise the harm caused by gambling.
I’m Rod Benson for the NSW Council of Churches.