Craving for Gambling Predicts Income-Generating Offenses: A Pathways Model of a Japanese Prison Population

  • Kenji YokotaniEmail author
  • Katsuhiro Tamura
  • Yusuke Kaneko
  • Eiichi Kamimura
Original Paper


The links between gambling and criminal offenses have been frequently reported, but the pathways from gambling to a particular offense have not. Our study applied a pathways model to predict participants’ income-generating, drug-related, and violent offenses stemming from their craving for gambling. The participants were 332 male inmates in a Japanese local prison. They answered questionnaires on gambling behavior, alcohol addiction, Internet addiction, impulsivity, and psychopathy. Their official records with information on their current offense, sentence length, number of imprisonments, and length of education were also analyzed. The results show that 38.55% (n = 128) of the participants had a probable gambling disorder, a rate of problem gambling at least four times higher than that among the general Japanese population. Furthermore, their craving for gambling predicted their income-generating offenses, but not their drug-related and violent offenses. Their craving for gambling can thus be linked to their financial issues, rather than their emotional and impulsive issues. The pathways model explained the path not only from addiction/psychopathy to gambling, but also from gambling to committing an income-generating offense.


Pathways model Japanese male prison inmates Income-generating offense Craving for gambling 



We would like to express our appreciation to Dr. Tai Kurosawa for his insightful feedbacks on our early draft.


The present study was funded by Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (19K11206).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

Our study was approved by the board of a local prison and an ethics committee of a national university in Japan. Furthermore, all procedures were conducted in accordance with guidelines for studies involving human participants in the revised 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of Technology, Industrial and Social SciencesTokushima UniversityTokushima-shiJapan
  2. 2.General Affairs SectionNiigata Juvenile Classification HomeNiigata CityJapan
  3. 3.Department of EducationNiigata PrisonNiigata CityJapan
  4. 4.Graduate School of Modern Society and CultureNiigata UniversityNiigata CityJapan

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