Gamblers Help reaches out

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Raising awareness about the harm that can come from sports betting was the goal behind last month’s Gamble Aware Week.

Co-hosted in an online format by Anglicare and Relationships Australia (Tasmania), Gamble Aware Week reached close to 4,000 Tasmanians under the theme Watching more odds than action? Get back to the real game. Snapshot spoke with a member of the event organising team, Addictions and Mental Health Practitioner Sean Robinson about the response. Sean is based in Anglicare’s Devonport office.


What were the highlights of Gamble Aware Week?

Talking to people who hadn’t reached out for support before; sharing the stories of sportspeople who had personally experienced gambling harm; and encouraging 78 sporting clubs to spread the message of awareness.

What was the feedback like?

Really positive! Our follow-up survey indicated that respondents’ awareness levels had doubled after their interaction with Gamble Aware Week. Here’s what some of our stakeholders had to say:

  • “I found the information about sports betting particularly interesting. The information about taking action and checking in on your mates was also great.” – sports club
  • “It was a great collaborative effort to raise awareness and hopefully will result in more people knowing where to access support when they need it.” – community organisation
  • “Well received” and “something for everyone.” – Government.

Why the focus on sports betting?

We held Gamble Aware Week in the lead-up to the AFL Grand Final. Historically, this event has one of the highest gambling expenditure rates of a single sporting event in Australia—second only to the Melbourne Cup—and sports betting is the fastest growing sector of the national gambling market.

We’ve looked at studies done by the Australian Institute of Family Studies in 2017 and 2019.

In 2015, 574,000 people regularly bet on sport. Of these, 88 per cent were male, 75 per cent were aged 18-49 and 70 per cent worked full time. A much-higher percentage of sports bettors experienced problems from their gambling compared to regular gamblers.

In 2018-19, total sports betting expenditure grew by 15.3 per cent to $1.062 billion a year.

Betting apps make it easy to bet anywhere, at any time and as often as you like, leading to speedier addiction and bigger financial losses.

How do I know if I have a problem?

It might be time to reach out for support if you have:

  • bet more than you could really afford to lose
  • gambled to win back money
  • felt guilty or anxious about your gambling and the issues it may be causing
  • needed to bet with larger amounts to get the same rush
  • lost track of how much money and time you’ve spent gambling; or
  • had people question you about your gambling lately.

What is Gamblers Help?

Anglicare’s Gamblers Help service can support you to reach your goals. The service is funded by the Tasmanian Government and run by Anglicare in the North West and South, and Relationships Australia (Tasmania) in the North.

Gamblers Help is free. We’re here to support, not judge. You can use our service as long as you need to. It’s available to anyone who is being harmed by their own or someone else’s gambling. We can also link you with Anglicare’s financial counselling service (the National Debt Helpline.)

One of the features that works well for many of our clients is ‘self-exclusion’. Working with a counsellor, you identify the venue or venues that are causing problems for you and your name will be added to a no-entry register managed by Anglicare.

You can call us on 1800 243 232, and we will arrange a one-to-one session with one of our friendly, professional counsellors.


Would you like more information?

Visit the Gamblers Help webpage for hints, tips and fact sheets. You could use them as conversation starters with family, friends, work colleagues or team mates at your local sporting club.

While no further sessions are planned at present, you are welcome to register your interest in a community education program.


Did you receive information during Gamble Aware Week?

Our team would love to hear your feedback so that we can improve our outreach services and plan future events. Please take a couple of minutes to complete the survey here.

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