National online gambling counselling service launched today
A new online gambling counselling service will provide support and advice to gamblers and their families across Australia.
Federal Community Services Minister Jenny Macklin said Gambling Help Online was an initiative of the Ministerial Council on Gambling (MCG), funded through an agreement between the Rudd Government and State and Territory Governments.
‘Gambling Help Online will provide a cooperative national approach to help people take control of their gambling, wherever they are in Australia,’ Ms Macklin said.
‘For the first time, Australians now have online access to qualified gambling counsellors who can provide assistance through either live online counselling or email.’
Ms Macklin said the free service will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Users have the option to seek assistance anonymously or to register so they can keep a record of their discussions.
‘Making the decision to seek help about problem gambling can be difficult. Providing 24-hour anonymous assistance will encourage those concerned about their gambling to seek the help and support they need,’ Ms Macklin said.
Ms Macklin said the new initiative would help gambling support services to keep pace with new technologies, such as online betting.
At the launch of Gambling Help Online at St Luke’s Anglicare in Bendigo, Victorian Gaming Minister Tony Robinson said Victoria had taken the lead on the development of Gambling Help Online and was responsible for its ongoing management.
‘The Brumby Government is taking action to tackle the personal and social cost of gambling by ensuring problem gamblers and their families have access to a comprehensive range of support services,’ he said.
‘Gambling Help Online provides a safe, confidential and non-threatening environment for problem gamblers and those affected by gambling to get the support they need to take control.’
Mr Robinson said with the Brumby Labor Government’s $132 million Taking action on problem gambling strategy, Victoria continued to lead the way nationally on tackling problem gambling, introducing measures including:
- Reduced maximum bet limits and spin rates;
- A ban on gaming machine advertising;
- Restricted gaming machine signage;
- Banning ATMs from gaming venues by 2012;
- Capped gaming machine density in at-risk communities in 19 regions across Victoria;
- A commitment to introduce a pre-commitment mechanism for gaming machines to enable a person to pre-set time or loss limits;
- Increased penalties for allowing minors to gamble; and
- Mandated responsible gambling Codes of Conduct for venues.
Visit Gambling Help Online website for free gambling counselling and support.