Queenslanders are being reminded during this year’s Responsible Gambling Awareness Week (RGAW) that Getting help is a safe bet if they or someone they know are impacted by problem gambling.
Held annually and supported by the Queensland Government, the week runs from Monday, 27 July to Sunday, 2 August and promotes responsible gambling and the support available to people who feel gambling may have become a problem for them, or their family and friends.
Attorney General and Minister for Justice Yvette D’Ath said RGAW was particularly important this year, with the impacts of coronavirus.
“Many people are still dealing with the impacts of COVID-19, such as unemployment, isolation, loneliness, anxiety or depression which could place them at a heightened risk of gambling harm,” she said.
“This harm may include negative impacts on finances, health, wellbeing, work, study, or relationships.
“I’m asking everyone to take time this week to stop, take a breath and reflect on their gambling.
“If you can identify any signs of problem gambling in your own behaviour, or in someone close to you, reaching out for help is the safest bet.
“Signs to look out for include gambling to escape problems or feelings and chasing losses – it’s important not to treat gambling as a way to make money.”
Ms D’Ath said the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation would be sharing reminders and tips throughout the week on its social media channels, as well as the contact details of Gambling Help Queensland and the Gambling Helpline.
“You can contact the Gambling Helpline on any day, at any time and talk to a professional counsellor confidentially and for free; or if more comfortable for you, you can lean on your own personal support networks,” she said.
“Gaming venue staff are also trained in Responsible Service of Gambling and have a responsibility to care for patrons. Please don’t be offended if staff check in with you to see how you’re going—they’re just doing their job.”
Ms D’Ath said the Queensland Government was committed to minimising gambling harm.
“The Queensland Government provides more than $6.7 million each year for Gambling Help services (GHS) to assist those who experience problems with gambling,” she continued.
“These services included face-to-face counselling, a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week telephone helpline, the Gambling Help Online counselling service, as well as counselling in alcohol and other drug support services.
“With the re-opening of gaming venues in Stage 3 of easing restrictions, we have worked very closely with GHS and the industry to put measures in place to protect customers from gambling harm.
“Patrons can now choose to ban themselves from multiple venues remotely, through their local GHS, without having to physically attend a venue to ask for a self-exclusion.
Free and confidential Gambling Help telephone and online support is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and face-to-face Gambling Help counselling services are located across the state.
If you or a friend or family member need further information or support, contact Gambling Helpline on 1800 858 858 or visit www.gamblinghelpqld.org.au.