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Crime


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Crime, Antisocial Personality and Pathological Gambling. Alex Blaszczynski, Neil McConaghy, A. Frankova. Journal of Gambling Behavior, 5:137-152, 1989. Structured interviews of 109 Australian pathological gamblers found that 37 percent had committed no criminal offense, 40 percent committed gambling-related offenses, 9 percent non-gambling offenses, and 14 percent both gambling and non-gambling offenses. Only 14 percent qualified for a diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder. Most crimes were nonviolent crimes against property.

Compulsive Gambling. Henry R. Lesieur. Society p43-50, May/June, 1992. This article explores the costs of compulsive gambling to society and to individual gamblers. One study of Gamblers Anonymous members found that pathological gamblers are responsible for an estimated 1.3 billion dollars in insurance-related fraud per year. Children of pathological gamblers were more likely to have gambling problems. Studies of prisoners, alcohol and drug abusing inpatients, Veteran's Administration inpatients and Gamblers Anonymous members found that approximately two-thirds of non-incarcerated and 97 percent of incarcerated pathological gamblers admit engaging in illegal behavior to finance their gambling activities. Surveys indicate that 1 to 2 percent of the adult population are probably pathological gamblers and 2 to 3 percent are problem gamblers.

The Pathological Gambler as Criminal Offender: Comments on Evaluation and Treatment. Richard J. Rosenthal and Valerie C. Lorenz. The Psychiatric Clinics of North America (15:3, 647-660) September, 1992. The authors present an overview of what was known at the time about the relationship between criminal behavior and pathological gambling, including a discussion of the difference between a gambler who commits crimes and a criminal who gambles. Pointing out the high prevalence of problem gambling in prisons, they recommend a combination of treatment, restitution, community service, and monitoring as an alternative to prison sentences for those who commit crimes as a result of their gambling addiction.

Problem Gambling in a Federal Prison Population: Results from the South Oaks Gambling Screen. Glenn D. Walters. Journal of Gambling Studies, 13(1), 7-24, Spring 1997. The author administered the South Oaks Gambling Screen (SOGS) to 363 federal prison inmates, finding that 5.2 percent achieved scores of 5 or greater (the traditional criterion for pathological gambling) with another 7.4 percent attaining scores of 3 or 4. These scores are considerably higher than those typically found in studies of the general population. Walters also examined spontaneous remission, and found that 44 percent of those with scores of 3 or 4 had ceased problem gambling on their own as had 21 percent of those with scores of 5 or greater.

Pathological Gambling and Criminal Behavior. Dr. Gerhard Meyer. 10th International Conference on Gambling and Risk-Taking, Montreal. University of Bremen, Germany. June 4, 1997. This article explores the link between pathological gambling and criminal activity. The author points out that the commission of a crime by a compulsive gambler does not necessarily mean that gambling was the cause of the criminal activity. In almost half of the cases studied, criminal activity preceded the onset of problem gambling. The research concluded that while pathological gambling behavior is an important component of criminal activities, other variables such as personality and social attachment also influence the level of criminal behavior.

Casino Gambling and Street Crime. William J. Miller and Martin D. Schwartz. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. March, 1998. Miller and Schwartz review the literature linking casino gambling and criminal activity and find it unconvincing. They point out that any activity that increases people traffic and tourism will lead to an increase in street crime, and find a lack of evidence that gambling attractions have an effect different than other tourist attractions. They conclude that "we have not found here any compelling evidence to suggest that there is something unique about casinos that causes an increase in street crime in the surrounding area."

 Illegal Behaviors in Problem Gambling: Analysis of Data from a Gambling Helpline. Marc N. Potenza, Marvin A. Steinberg, Susan D. McLaughlin, Ran Wu, Bruce J. Rounsaville, and Stephanie S. O’Malley. Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law. 28:389-403, 2000. The authors examined responses to standardized questionnaires completed by 826 callers to the Connecticut problem gambling helpline, concentrating on illegal activities and arrests related to gambling. They found that one in five reported illegal activity and 11.5 percent reported arrest and/or incarceration. Those reporting illegal activity were younger and had lower educational attainment than those without illegal activity, reported longer durations of gambling problems and a larger number of problematic gambling activities. They were more likely to have debts to acquaintances and to have been suicidal, and were more likely to report alcohol or drug problems and treatment for other mental health disorders. Those reporting arrest or incarceration often reported features consistent with antisocial personality disorder.