Abbott MW, McKenna BG, Giles LC. J Gambl Stud. 2005 Winter;21(4):537-58.
Recently sentenced inmates in four New Zealand male prisons (N = 357) were interviewed to assess their gambling involvement, problem gambling and criminal offending. Frequent participation in and high expenditure on continuous forms of gambling prior to imprisonment were reported. Nineteen percent said they had been in prison for a gambling-related offence and most of this offending was property-related and non-violent.
On the basis of their SOGS-R scores, 21% were lifetime probable pathological gamblers and 16% were probable pathological gamblers during the six months prior to imprisonment. Of the “current” problem gamblers, 51% reported gambling-related offending and 35% had been imprisoned for a crime of this type.
Gambling-related offending increased with problem gambling severity. However, only five percent of problem gamblers said their early offending was gambling-related. The large majority reported other types of offending at this time. Few men had sought or received help for gambling problems prior to imprisonment or during their present incarceration.
This highlights the potential for assessment and treatment programs in prison to reduce recidivism and adverse effects of problem gambling and gambling-related offending.