Journal of Gambling Studies

, Volume 35, Issue 4, pp 1147–1162 | Cite as

A Quantification of the Net Consumer Surplus from Gambling Participation

  • Matthew J. RockloffEmail author
  • Matthew Browne
  • Alex Myles Thomas Russell
  • Stephanie S. Merkouris
  • Nicki A. Dowling
Original Paper


Gambling exposes people to risk for harm, but also has recreational benefits. The present study aimed to measure gambling harm and gambling benefits on similar scales using two novel methods adapted from the Burden of Disease approach (McCormack et al. in Psychol Med 18(4):1007–1019, 1988; Torrance et al. in Health Serv Res 7(2):118–133, 1972) to find whether gambling either adds or subtracts from quality of life. A Tasmanian population-representative survey of 5000 adults (2534 female) from random digit dialling (RDD) of landline telephones in Tasmania (50%), as well as pre-screened Tasmanian RDD mobiles (17%) and listed mobile numbers (33%), measured gambling benefits and harms amongst gamblers (59.2%) and a non-exclusive set of people who were “affected” by someone else’s gambling (4.5%). The majority of gamblers indicated no change to their quality of life from gambling (82.5% or 72.6% based on direct elicitation or time trade off methods, respectively). Nevertheless, a weighted average of all the positive and negative influences on quality of life, inclusive of gamblers and affected others, revealed that the quality of life change from gambling is either a very modest + 0.05% or a more concerning − 1.9% per capita. Gambling generates only small or negative net consumer surpluses for Tasmanians.


Burden of Disease (BoD) Years of life lost (YLL) Disability adjusted life year (DALY) Quality adjusted life year (QALY) 



This research was funded by the Tasmanian Department of Treasury and Finance by way of successful tender for The Fourth Social and Economic Impact Study of Gambling in Tasmania (2017).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

All authors have received funding from multiple sources, including government departments or agencies that are funded primarily by government departments (some through hypothecated taxes from gambling revenue). ND and SM have been the Victorian state representatives (unpaid) on the NAGS Executive Committee (which derives its funding from member fees conference proceeds and includes representatives from all stakeholder groups). AR has received industry funding from Echo/Star Entertainment to evaluate gambling and problem gambling amongst their casino employees. The remaining authors (MR, MB, NAD, SM) have not knowingly received research funding from the gambling industry or any industry-sponsored organization. The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare in relation to this paper.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of Deakin University’s Human Ethics Panel; the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (2007); and the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (2007).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Experimental Gambling Research LaboratoryCentral Queensland UniversityBundabergAustralia
  2. 2.School of PsychologyDeakin UniversityGeelongAustralia
  3. 3.Melbourne Graduate School of EducationUniversity of MelbourneParkvilleAustralia

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