Gambling and drugs: The role of gambling among Vietnamese women incarcerated for drug crimes in Australia

Roslyn Le, Michael Gilding

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


This study of 35 Vietnamese women imprisoned for drug crimes in Melbourne, Australia, demonstrates a strong association between problem gambling and illicit drug markets, notably heroin trafficking and cannabis cultivation. Specifically, problem gambling in Melbourne’s casino provided both the main motivation and the necessary network brokerage for drug-related crime. More generally, the study demonstrates the importance of socio-cultural dynamics in drug-related crimes: in particular, the social embeddedness of ethnic and immigrant participation in illicit drug markets through social relationships formed at the casino; the influence of the institution of informal lending chơi hụi; and women’s agency in drug markets, independently of their kinship and marital relations. The study also highlights the importance of minority perspectives in criminology, presenting an opportunity for policy officials to develop more finely-tuned interventions directed towards the articulation between gambling and drugs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)134-151
Number of pages18
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Drug trafficking
  • gambling
  • illicit drugs
  • Vietnamese
  • women


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