Thousands of clubs across Australia are working hard to reduce problem gambling. ‘Part of the Solution – Clubs Promoting a Culture of Responsible Gambling’ provides the industry’s recommendations for policy reform addressing the issue of problem gambling in Australia. The full policy document is available to download here. The plan draws on a wide range of academic, industry and government sources and recommends a multi-faceted approach to tackle the complexities of problem gambling.
The 'Part of the Solution' policy document is accompanied by an advertising campaign, which highlights the array of tools currently available in clubs to assist problem gamblers.
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Policy Summary Gambling is an enjoyable recreational pursuit for millions of Australians and provides significant social and economic benefits to the community in terms of entertainment, employment, taxation revenue and funding for social and sporting infrastructure and community organisations. However, for a small minority of players, excessive gambling causes harm, for themselves and for their families.
The club industry has worked cooperatively with state and territory governments for many years to implement proven, cost effective harm minimisation policies which have resulted in falling problem gambling prevalence rates across all Australian jurisdictions. Clubs are global leaders in gambling harm minimisation, and Australia has one of the lowest problem gambling prevalence rates in the world.
When considering new policies to further improve the culture of responsible gambling among stakeholders, all parties should work together constructively and transparently, and follow best practice guidelines for effective and efficient policy-making. Best practice regulation processes are well understood, but sometimes overlooked for reasons of political expediency. All stakeholders must resist the temptation to adopt emotionally-driven, reactive silver bullet solutions and pursue a rigorous regulatory impact assessment before adopting and implementing new proposals.
Not all harm minimisation measures are the result of government intervention, and the club industry has trialled and initiated many policies to the benefit of its customers and employees. A recent example is the implementation of a multi-venue self-exclusion online program. The club industry is also finalising the introduction of a consumer narrative advocacy program administered by Unifam and the trialling of a club chaplaincy program administered by the Salvation Army that promotes intervention and treatment for problem gamblers.
Clubs Australia firmly believes that problem gambling is a complex issue which requires targeted solutions that best address the individual’s own needs.
A multifaceted, holistic approach which promotes a culture of responsible gambling and increases the help-seeking rate among problem gamblers is the best way of reducing the social costs of problem gambling. This requires a suite of prevention, intervention and treatment measures tailored to respond flexibly to the circumstances of the individual problem gambler. Importantly, greater community engagement to de-stigmatise gambling addiction and treatment will strengthen the safety net and improve the readiness of family and friends to identify and make an early intervention for those most in need.