- »Queensland Prepares for Responsible Gambling Awareness Week
Queensland Prepares for Responsible Gambling Awareness Week
Various parts of Australia set aside a week each year to focus on public awareness of problem gambling and ways to reduce gambling harm. The first of several efforts in 2019 ends on August 4 in Queensland with Responsible Gambling Awareness Week.
Health Check Suggested
The Honourable Yvette D’Ath, Attorney General and Minister for Justice, is urging Queenslanders to perform a “health check” on their gambling habits.
Responsible Gambling Awareness Week has been running this week and ends on Sunday, August 4.
D’Ath hopes that people will take the final days of the week to examine their gambling actions and impacts. “While many people gamble socially and do so without issues,” she said, “some, unfortunately, do experience harm from gambling. This harm may negatively impact their health, wellbeing, work, study, relationships, and finances.”
The awareness she wants to create includes Queenslanders looking at the way they gamble. Including how much time and money they spend individually. It can also include taking a look at friends and family. With the goal of detecting any possible risky or dangerous behavior in their activities.
It is also a week to remind people that there is help. Services are provided via gambling help services, many of which are provided by more than $6.7 million in funding. These include:
- Face-to-face counseling
- Telephone helpline available 24 hours a day
- Gambling Help Online counseling service
- Residential outpatient service at a Brisbane drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility
- Training program for screening for problem gambling
“Increasing the community’s understanding of gambling problems can reduce the stigma attached to problem gambling,” D’Ath noted, “and the time between when problems develop and help is sought.”
New Training Videos Released
D’Ath made an announcement during Responsible Gambling Awareness Week as well.
“I’m pleased to see the release this week of four Responsible Service of Gambling training videos created specifically for licensees and staff in gaming venues, to educate and empower staff to support those affected by gambling problems.”
The “Respect and Refer” video shows the wife of a problem gambler at a venue looking for her husband, suspecting he has a gambling problem. She approaches an employee of the venue to ask if they have seen him. It examines the ways that the employee reacts and what they could do differently to better support the woman and let her know of the help available.
A follow-up video goes further with the wife of the problem gambler to show the employee of the venue offering various types of help for her and her husband. Options are presented so she knows there are choices for both of them.
Another video shows a gambler who spends long periods of time at the venue and makes frequent visits to the ATM to withdraw more money. He also exhibits anger toward staff and other patrons at the venue until an employee approaches him to ask if he’d like to take a break from gambling. This presents the opportunity to discuss various ways to deal with this gambler.
A follow-up video shows the conversation between the aforementioned gambler and the venue’s Customer Liaison Officer (CLO). It shows how the CLO can speak to him in a non-judgmental way and present some options for assistance.
Ultimately, the government hopes to provide more resources for those in positions of influence so they are better able to detect signs of problem gambling and step in respectfully to offer suggestions and help.
Queensland Supporting Consumer Protections
D’Ath noted her and the government’s strong support of the National Consumer Protection Framework for Online Wagering from the Australian government’s Department of Social Services.
The framework offered 10 minimum protection measures that the government urged to be implemented in all parts of Australia for customers of online gaming services. D’Ath noted that six of the measures have been implemented in Queensland, and the other four are in progress.
The 10 measures are:
- Prohibiting lines of credit from financial institutions
- Restricting payday lender reach by stopping their ads and referrals to payday lenders
- Requiring customer verification within 14 days of gambling registration
- Restricting inducements and incentives to gamble more
- Providing simple and easy-to-find ways to close gambling accounts
- Providing an option to set deposit limits
- Requiring meaningful activity statements to increase awareness of spending
- Providing consistent gambling messaging
- Training staff in responsible gambling and reducing harm
- Providing a self-exclusion register
The measures are being implemented on a national and local scale in accordance with the 2017 Interactive Gambling Amendment Act.
“We all have a role to play in minimizing the negative impacts of gambling and problem gambling on Queenslanders,” D’Ath added. The strengthening of regulation and controls is helping, especially with the growing availability of interactive wagering.
Help is available on the Queensland Gambling Help website.