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U of M research sheds light on gambling effects on crime

U of M research sheds light on gambling effects on crime

Posted: Wednesday, November 2, 2011 1:09 pm

The Messenger 11.02.11

Recent research on problem gambling and its effects may shed light on certain criminal cases.
In an article that appeared in the September issue of the Journal of Gambling Studies, University of Memphis researchers George Mitzner, James Whelan and Andrew Meyers reported that approximately one in 10 individuals seeking treatment for gambling problems had committed a criminal act — including shoplifting, theft, fraud, assault or prostitution.
Interestingly, it appeared that gambling problems often pre-dated the illegal activity, suggesting these crimes may have been committed to relieve a desperate situation caused by gambling losses.
Committing illegal acts to cover up gambling activities is a well-documented side effect of problem gambling, according to the research. Unfortunately, criminal behavior is just one possible consequence of problem gambling. Others involve financial loss or debt, lying to family and friends, losing time from work, or other personal problems. Problem gambling can result from illegal or legal forms of gambling including, but not limited to, casino gambling, sports betting, Bingo, lotteries, Internet gambling and animal fights.
There are resources to help control gambling. The Gambling Clinic at the University of Memphis provides affordable outpatient services to treat these problems. More information is available online at or from Dr. Whelan at (901) 678-3491.

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