FCX Panel Discussion – Gambling: The Hidden Addiction

To mark International Fraud Awareness Week, McGrathNicol’s collaboration hub FCX last night hosted a series of expert panels in each of our offices in Australia and New Zealand to discuss experiences and challenges for Australian businesses managing risk arising from employee fraud and corruption.

Our guest speaker, former Sydney Swans AFL player and convicted fraud offender, Daryn Cresswell, spoke of his gambling issues and the circumstances that led him to commit fraud.  It was a unique personal perspective that was not shrouded in statistics and objectivity.

Daryn reflected that his addiction to gambling replaced that winning feeling he yearned for following his retirement from AFL.  He considered debt or greed as the two primary motivators for committing fraud.  Debt happened to be his nemesis that led him to fraudulently sign loan documents (on someone else’s behalf) with a bank.  Daryn subsequently spent ten months in prison for this mistake.

Upon reflection, the lessons Daryn learnt from his experience were (i) to be honest and upfront (secrecy is a tell-tale sign of a problem gambler); (ii) get support; and (iii) understand the consequences of your actions.

A panel discussion then followed in each office.

Sydney hosted Det Supt Arthur Katsogiannis, Commander of the NSW Police Fraud and Cybercrime squad, Dr Clinton Free, a Professor at the University of NSW researching occupational fraud, and Dr Sally Gainsbury, a Senior Lecturer at the University of Sydney and Deputy Director of the Gambling Treatment and Research Clinic.  Panelists shared their insights into fraud and addiction.

One of the key points of discussion concerned how employers can support those experiencing addiction.  Described by Dr Gainsbury as the “hidden addiction,” gambling can permeate employees’ behaviours leading to devastating outcomes.  Employers can play a crucial role by setting up a culture to facilitate employees asking for help before their addiction becomes a problem.  Such employee-assistance strategies may circumvent a potential fraud from taking place.  This also forms part of the duty of care companies are required to take, according to Det Supt Katsogiannis, particularly if it impacts the organisation.

The pathway to recovery is possible.  Daryn sought professional help which assisted him identify and understand the behavioural “triggers” associated with gambling.  Having appropriate support leads to better outcomes.

If you would like to see a video of last night’s event or learn more about research projects or upcoming events, please click here to subscribe to FCX.  Our FCX industry forums are collaborative and informative and bring together external speakers and professionals to discuss issues specific to an industry.  They also provide an opportunity for professionals with a focus on prevention and detection of financial crime to share their knowledge and experiences for mutual benefit.


Matt Fehon

Matt Fehon
Partner, Sydney
T: +61 2 9338 2680
E: mfehon