Australia's gambling epidemic and energy poverty

Lisa Farrell, Jane M. Fry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Energy poverty is a growing concern across many countries due to rising energy costs. Energy affordability is essential for households to be able to pay their bills and adequately heat their homes. Here we consider the relationship between energy poverty and gambling. Problem gambling is an increasing societal issue in many countries. Gambling is addictive for many players and at its extreme excessive gambling consumption can lead to multiple economic and social harms. One domain of huge importance is the financial hardship that gambling can create. We utilise the Household, Income and Laboure Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) data to investigate if problem gambling is a driver of energy poverty. We employ a range of energy poverty measures and gambling behaviour proxies. Our findings show subjective measures of energy poverty are positively associated with gambling expenditure. This finding captures the negative impacts of excessive gambling on an individual's ability to pay their energy bills and heat their homes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105218
JournalEnergy Economics
Publication statusPublished - May 2021


  • Energy poverty
  • Gambling
  • Instrumental variables


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