Responsible Awareness Gambling Week

Gambling is much more more accessible, much more easier any time or place. We know that gambling is occuring during work hours and this can either be in the form of just simply someone sitting at the desk and gambling away without anybody knowing about it. Distractions in the workplace are more evident than ever before. A new report suggests Australian employees are gambling on their bosses’ time. Not that long ago you said have to get your car, drive to TAB put a bit on and then hopefully win some money.

You can literally bet every few seconds now. We’re all carrying casinos in our pockets. So we need to understand, what does that do to a society? And how does that increase the risk of people developing problems with gambling. Often times, gambling is seen as a way that you might be able to get out of that money trap.Ironically for many people of course, it makes the situation worse. Difference in Australia is that we spend a lot more per capita then any other country so despite having similar level of anticipation, we expenditure rate which has doubled or tripled more than other probable countries.

Workplaces in the changing face of gambling is the focus for the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation during Responsible Gambling Awareness Week. This year’s responsible gambling awareness week is all about with particular focus on how it has impacted families in terms of this whole changing gambling environment. These activities is accessible through phones and tablet devices which are very popular among business and working people. And so what we’re seeing is increasing involvement happening amongst the demographic, perhaps in the past, gamble didn’t play as much. Sports betting and casino games like online poker lead the charge on web related gambling activities. With thousands of legal sites easily accessible due to minimal regulation on the Internet.

Like many things that can be caused, flow-on effects right across the community. And I think everybody’s got an interest in addressing this and making for greater responsibility in gambling. I’ve seen that the the impact this has had first-hand.

Former footballer Wayne Schwass knows what can go wrong when gambling gets out of control. Helping a relative overcome addiction, Schwass says there needs to be better education about gambling responsibly. That’s part of what makes this country great. You know having a beer and having a punt and having a good time with your friends.

I’m not going to sit here and say don’t do that. What I want to encourage people to do though is, before you actually start to do or make some those decisions, plan it. What can I afford to play with? What can I afford to lose if I happen to lose? And what’s my cut off point? The Premiership player says football and other sporting clubs also have an in the issue.

Either philosophical view in regards to any social issue and the connection between sport and the people that follow the sport, that is we have an enormous responsibility. One club taking that responsibility seriously, is the Collingwood Football Club. The latest sporting club to sign a Responsible Gambling charter.

The Collingwood Football Club is in to side by side and that’s about looking after your family and friends and people around you and sometimes it takes someone else to see the problem developing. The club has also taken a step to stop any communication about gambling their members under the age of 18. There is no doubt that every sporting club including the AFL clubs have a responsibility to their supporters and members to insure that, that sensitive age group under 18 isn’t bombarded with the communications that can happen on a daily basis. It’s easy to think about this as just a problem or an issue, but like many things, it can cause flow-on effects right across the community. And I think everybody’s got an interest in addressing this and making for greater responsibility in gambling. The Institute of Family Studies has researched the effects of gambling but says the key is prevention.

I’m a great believer in early intervention and prevention as far as possible and you know it’s better to have basically a fence at the top of the cliff rather than an ambulances at the bottom. And the latest report by the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation shows prevention is just as important in the workplace for employers as it is for gamblers. This year we’re launching a program for employees and workplaces to to really start to get you know, raise their understanding of their employees gambling in the workplace.

So, what we do know is that employers have a duty of care to maintain a healthy and safe workplace and there may be the risk that if an employer allows employees to gamble say on their own phones or iPads or workplace computers, it could be a liability for employers because essentially indirectly they have endorsed or supported that particular activities. The foundation has also released a gaming venue best practice guide that sets the benchmark all licensed venues in Victoria. Responsible gambling, I think is very well advanced in Australia.

I think compared to many other countries around the world we do very well in responsible gambling. We have mandatory codes of practice, number of specific guidelines about how venues operate. I think we’re doing pretty well. Certainly plenty of work to do.

We are not an anti-gambling foundation. We recognize that for many people gambling is an legitimate form of entertainment. What we want to do through Responsible Gambling Awareness Week is really send the message that similar to to alcohol, it is an activity that has risks associated with it. If I’m gonna bet, I’m gonna bet responsibly!