Gambling has always held a prominent place in the Australian cultural ethos. However, recent legislative changes have resulted in the expansion of new and existing forms of gambling within the community. This trend has met with stringent criticism from various community sectors, primarily health, welfare and Church organisations who express concern over the deleterious consequences produced by excessive gambling behaviour. This paper describes the extent of gambling within the Australian community and its social acceptance as a form of recreation. It recognises that, for psychological and sociological reasons, certain groups may be at greater risk for developing gambling problems and that a further proportion may experience impaired control over their behaviour leading to severe personal and familial distress including suicide and family and marital breakdown. Why people persist at gambling and the psychological processes leading to impaired control is poorly understood. Psychologists have a major role to play in research, therapy, and community education, and in guiding social policy development.