The frantic seeking of credit during poker machine problem gambling: A public health perspective

Jane Oakes, Rene Pols, Sharon Lawn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
4 Downloads (Pure)


(1) Background: Financial harms associated with problem gambling are substantial and result in suicidal ideation, depression, anxiety and relationship damage, causing distress for problem gamblers and their families. This paper examines Electronic Gaming Machine gamblers’ frantic use of credit during episodes of gambling as a substantial public health burden. (2) Methods: This qualitative study comprised 29 participants purposefully selected who participated in either focus groups or in-depth interviews, which were analysed using thematic, textual analysis. (3) Results: Ready access to credit in the gambling venues enabled problem gamblers to engage in desperate credit transactions to continue to gamble. Many showed frantic, repeated patterns of e-credit withdrawal, which may be typical of gambling while “in the zone”, when it is highly likely that the gamblers are not able to make informed decisions about the use of credit. This pattern of the electronic withdrawal of cash may well be recognisable electronically by financial institutions in real-time, as part of a duty of care potentially owed by banks to their customers. It would provide an opportunity for the identification of people at financial risk due to gambling and systemic intervention to limit the financial harm at a time when financial decision-making is impaired. (4) Conclusions: Although this finding needs further confirmation, there are significant implications for harm minimisation and early intervention for affected PGs. It also raises the issue of the ‘duty of care’ owed to PG customers by financial institutions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5216
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jul 2020

Bibliographical note

This article is an open accessarticle distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution(CC BY) license (


  • Addiction
  • Automated teller machines (ATMs)
  • Finances
  • Gambling
  • Harms
  • Money


Dive into the research topics of 'The frantic seeking of credit during poker machine problem gambling: A public health perspective'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this