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How Family Members Of Pokies Players Can Help Solve Problem Gambling In Australia

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Australia's Gambling Losses

Australia is still the world leader in gambling losses. Recently, the highest number of losses were reported when playing pokies. It is no surprise that Australia has the highest per capita level of gambling losses in the world. The majority of those losses come from poker machines. NSW has around half of the country's pokies, and its clubs and pubs account for over $6 billion yearly in losses.

NSW has always been the hardest jurisdiction to push through poker machine reform due to the powerful lobby groups which represent clubs (ClubsNSW) and pubs (AHA).

Lately, ClubsNSW and the Australian Hotels Association issued a joint statement, saying they are "deeply concerned by the potential impact and cost of the draft legislative changes."

"While the industry originally proposed several of the harm-minimisation measures contained in the legislation, the government's intended implementation would create unnecessary red tape and place a significant compliance burden on venues. ClubsNSW and AHA NSW are disappointed with the lack of effective consultation on the proposed legislation. The lack of effective consultation with key industry stakeholders has resulted in unworkable proposals which will be impossible for venues to comply with."

Proposed NSW Legislation for Problem Gamblers

In a move to prevent problem gambling, NSW Minister for Customer Service, Victor Dominello said he wanted his state to lead the country on gambling reform. In this new reform, family members of problem gamblers could apply to have their relatives banned from gaming venues under a sweeping set of changes designed to reduce gambling harm in Australia's biggest pokies state.

  • Venues could be fined up to $27,500 for failing to stop self-excluded gamblers
  • Gaming room staff will have more power to intervene with problem gamblers
  • NSW venues could be charged tens of thousands of dollars if they fail to stop self-excluded problem gamblers from using their poker machines.
  • A new third-party exclusion scheme that allows family members to ask venues to ban their relative from playing poker machines
  • Requirements for venues to always have a gambling contact officer on duty who has advanced training in the responsible conduct of gambling
  • New whistleblower protections for staff

The Berejiklian Government wants venues to identify and assist problem gamblers in a way comparable to responsible service of alcohol laws — placing more responsibility on venues to intervene with problematic gambling behavior.

Face ID for gamblers could be used to recognize the problem gamblers who are continuously losing their money playing pokies. In this new attempt, the report suggested that the use of technology could help improve the scheme, including introducing a system that could scan a patron's ID and match it to the self-exclusion register or the use of facial recognition technology.

Dozens of problem gamblers and their friends and family members have highlighted the flaws in self-exclusion schemes around the country. The main criticism is that self-excluded patrons can enter venues they have barred themselves from.

Though this reform where a family member can help a pokies player seems good, gambling researchers from CQ University found in their 176-page report commissioned by the NSW Responsible Gambling Fund that the "monitoring of self-exclusion has numerous deficiencies".

Getting Help for Problem Gambling

If you or anyone you know needs help to avoid playing pokies call:

  • Lifeline on 13 11 14
  • Gambling Help Online on 1800 858 858
  • Beyond Blue on 1300 22 46 36

How to Play Pokies Wisely

It’s always good to play pokies wisely. Here are a few tips to avoid getting addicted to pokies and becoming a problem gambler:

  • Play pokies at online casinos. Online casinos have higher RTP (Return to Player) rates than land-based pokies at clubs or pubs.
  • Fix a time period to play pokies. Don’t play pokies for hours or daily. Limit your play to weekends or a single day of the week or month.
  • Don’t chase your losses. If you lose, stop playing immediately. Take a break and engage in other activities.
  • Don’t chase your wins. If you win, stop playing and enjoy your winnings. You might lose what you have won if you continue playing.
  • Play for fun without spending or losing any money. Many online casinos offer the option to play pokies for fun without spending money.
  • Engage in yoga or meditation to help reduce the urge to play pokies.
  • Spend time in nature, such as sitting in a park, playing with kids, or watching animals. Find joy in these simple activities.
  • Remember that you are responsible for your losses, not the casinos. Practice self-control and engage in other meaningful activities.

Added on 18 Oct 2020 - 07:21