Getting help a safe bet for gamblers

As gaming at venues across the state reopen, Queenslanders are reminded about the importance of reaching out for help if they are worried about gambling becoming a problem.

Commissioner for Liquor and Gaming Victoria Thomson said licensed venues being able to offer a full range of services again was an important milestone for Queensland to get back to normal, but to remember this was a ‘new’ kind of normal.

“The recommencement of in-venue gaming after a long shut-down is unique and unprecedented and licensees and patrons need to consider not only the health and hygiene rules but put measures in place to minimise the negative impacts of gambling,” Ms Thomson said.

“The Coronavirus (COVID-19) health crisis has understandably left many Queenslanders feeling extremely lonely and anxious. Individuals and families have also faced financial pressures, unemployment and isolation.

“While faced with these challenges, it’s important to remember that gambling doesn’t pay the bills and won’t create the sense of belonging that comes from relationships and social connections.

“If gambling is more than a leisure activity for you, I urge you to contact the Gambling Helpline. It’s a free and confidential service.”

Ms Thomson said self-excluding from venues was now easier with patrons able to ban themselves from multiple venues without setting foot inside. Patrons could also approach their local Gambling Help service (GHS) to put multi-venue exclusions in place.
“Gaming venue staff are also trained in responsible service of gambling and have a responsibility to care for patrons so please don’t feel offended if staff reach out to you to see if you’re okay—they’re just doing their job,” she said.

Ms Thomson said gaming venues also work together with GHSs in their local area to provide support for patrons who need help dealing with their gambling, but don’t know where to start.

“A number of venues will also have GHS services on-site as Stage 3 commences to provide patrons with an opportunity to consider their gambling behaviour and connect directly with free counselling, if they require it,” she said.

“It also allows experienced professionals to reach out to patrons who may be having a tough time to check in to see how they’re going.

"As well as trained gaming staff and GHS, remember your family and friends can provide important support if you want to cut down or cut out your gambling. Consider opening up to someone you trust if you find yourself struggling.

“I encourage Queenslanders to think about their gambling habits before, during and after lock-down and make a change if needed.

“If you have the urge to rush out to a venue and play the pokies, your gambling may be a problem.”

Free and confidential Gambling Help telephone and online support is available 24-hours a day, 7 days a week, and face-to-face Gambling Help counselling services are located across the state.

If you or a friend or a family member need support, contact Gambling Help on 1800 858 858 or visit www.gamblinghelpqld.org.au.

Media enquiries: olgrmedia@justice.qld.gov.au