An Exploratory Study of the Relationship Between Financial Well-Being and Changes in Reported Gambling Behaviour During the COVID-19 Shutdown in Australia

Authors

  • Thomas B Swanton The University of Sydney, Faculty of Science, School of Psychology, Brain & Mind Centre, Gambling Treatment & Research Clinic, NSW, Australia
  • Martin T Burgess The University of Sydney, Faculty of Science, School of Psychology, Brain & Mind Centre, Gambling Treatment & Research Clinic, NSW, Australia
  • Alex Blaszczynski The University of Sydney, Faculty of Science, School of Psychology, Brain & Mind Centre, Gambling Treatment & Research Clinic, NSW, Australia
  • Sally M Gainsbury The University of Sydney, Faculty of Science, School of Psychology, Brain & Mind Centre, Gambling Treatment & Research Clinic, NSW, Australia

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.4309/jgi.2021.48.7

Keywords:

gambling, problem gambling, financial well-being, financial hardship, stress, COVID-19, coronavirus, Australia

Abstract

A change in someone’s financial situation, such as a windfall gain or increased financial stress, can affect the way that they gamble. The aim of this paper was to explore the relationship between financial well-being and changes in gambling behaviour during the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) shutdown. Australian past-year gamblers (N = 764; 85% male) completed an online cross-sectional survey in May 2020. Participants retrospectively reported monthly gambling participation before and after the COVID-19 shutdown, as well as their financial well-being, experience of COVID-related financial hardship, problem gambling severity, and psychological distress. Financial well-being showed strong negative associations with problem gambling and psychological distress. Neither financial well-being nor the interaction between financial well-being and problem gambling severity showed consistent evidence for predicting changes in gambling participation during the shutdown in this sample. This study provides preliminary evidence that self-reported financial well-being has a strong negative association with gambling problems but is not related to gambling participation. Future studies should link objective measures of financial well-being from bank transaction data with survey measures of problem gambling severity and experience of gambling-related harm.

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Published

2021-09-23

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Section

Original Article