Uniting Care Australia is concerned about gambling because gambling causes significant harm to many Australians. An unacceptable proportion of people who gamble regularly are gambling more than they can afford, and this causes a range of negative impacts in their lives and the lives of those people close to them.
In this submission UnitingCare Australia represents the UnitingCare services that provide specialised problem gambling services across Australia, and work closely with people affected by problem gambling in urban, regional, rural and remote communities in programs that deliver emergency relief, financial counselling, prisoner support, mental health, relationship, youth, family support and homelessness services.
UnitingCare services provide specialised problem gambling services and also work closely with people affected by problem gambling in urban, regional, rural and remote communities via programs that deliver emergency relief, financial counselling, prisoner support, mental health, relationship, youth, family support and homelessness services. A significant demand for these services is driven by the impacts of problem gambling.
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Recent submissions and media releases
UnitingCare Australia has welcomed moves by the Turnbull Government to crackdown on betting advertising during live sporting coverage as part of a package of media reforms launched on the weekend.
UnitingCare Australia strongly supports calls by Senator Nick Xenophon and Independent Andrew Wilkie for tougher action to address problem gambling Acting National Director Marin J Cowling said today.
Uniting Care Australia has welcomed the Draft Report on the Inquiry into Gambling released today by the Productivity Commission. This Inquiry follows up on the seminal research on gambling by the Commission in 1999. It provides a review of the gambling industry, sets out the community impacts, and provides clear advice on how to significantly reduce the pain of gambling being felt by individuals, families and communities.
UnitingCare Australia made a submission to this inquiry, on behalf of the Uniting Care network of services that work with problem gamblers. These services include gambling support services and support for individuals and families dealing with the impacts of problem gambling via Financial Counselling, Emergency Relief, Family, Relationship and Housing Support services.
UnitingCare Australia National Director Lin Hatfield Dodds said, “Once again the Commission has produced a well researched and thorough investigation of this critical social issue that affects a large number of people in the community. The Commission has found that about 15% of Australian adults gamble regularly and that about 30% of these people are either problem gamblers or at ‘moderate risk’ of problem gambling.”
“The Productivity Commission has addressed the priority issues that were raised by UnitingCare Australia in its submission, and which were noted by many other community advocates. Of particular importance are:
• Strengthening services for problem gamblers, self-help tools, pre-commitment and exclusion systems;
• Strengthening gaming machine standards and making these consistent across jurisdictions;
• Introducing a shutdown period for gaming machines in all hotels and clubs that starts earlier and is of longer duration; and
• Placing greater emphasis on education and harm reduction campaigns that highlight potential future losses, make the community aware of behaviours indicative of problem gambling and encourage earlier help seeking.”
“We are asking the Commission to focus more in its final report on emerging forms of gambling activities that are high risk for problem gambling, particularly on-line gambling and sports betting.”
Ms Hatfield Dodds noted, “The Commission has suggested that even a 10% sustained reduction in gambling harm could provide a gain to society of nearly half a billion dollars annually, and several billion in the longer term, let alone the benefits for individuals and families impacted by problem gambling.”
Contact: Michael Brown 0418 916 936
UnitingCare Australia is the national agency for UnitingCare, a network service providers in over 1300 communities across Australia dedicated to providing assistance to individuals, families and communities. The UnitingCare network is one of the largest providers of community services in Australia.
Susan Helyar, National Director of Uniting Care Australia has welcomed many of the recommendations in the Productivity Commission’s final report on Gambling released today by the Federal Government.
UnitingCare Australia strongly supports the efforts of the Government and Independent Andrew Wilkie to reduce the harm caused by problem gambling through the rollout of a full pre-commitment system over the next four years.
The Australian Churches Gambling Taskforce said today that mandatory pre commitment technology on all poker machines will limit the economic and social impact of problem gambling on individuals, families and communities by helping problem gamblers help themselves.