Prob­lem gam­blers pass habit down

Pok­ies debt spi­ralling

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - Peel@ news. com. au

char­lie. TOWNSVILLE gam­blers are blow­ing $ 300,000 a day on pok­ies and fall­ing deep in debt.

In the three months to July, $ 25,932,558 was put into Townsville’s 1600 elec­tronic gam­ing ma­chines in 40 li­censed venues across the city.

While that fig­ure only ac­counts for pokie play­ers, Cen­tacare Townsville Gam­bling Help coun­sel­lor Marivel Day- day be­lieves pokie play­ers rep­re­sent more prob­lem gam­blers than any other form. The daily fig­ure has risen to $ 284,973 – nearly $ 100,000 more than in 2006 when the is­sue was also re­ported as a grow­ing prob­lem.

“It is too much money and it is a grow­ing prob­lem,” Ms Day­day said.

“There are peo­ple won­der­ing why they can’t af­ford ba­sic needs for them­selves and their fam­i­lies – the an­swer is the gam­bling prob­lem. It af­fects part­ners and other fam­ily mem­bers and also im­pacts on fam­ily re­la­tion­ships and cre­ates emo­tional prob­lems.”

Ms Day­day es­ti­mates 3 per cent of Townsville’s pop­u­la­tion was among the 17,000 Queens­land adults con­sid­ered “prob­lem gam­blers”.

She said she had no­ticed a spike in those seek­ing help this month and put it down to peo­ple splash­ing out af­ter re­ceiv­ing their tax re­turns.

“I’ve been do­ing this for eight years and I no­tice an in­flux at this time ev­ery year,” she said.

“We aren’t see­ing peo­ple sav­ing money, in fact, a lot of peo­ple feel they are not earn­ing enough and see gam­bling as an easy fix for their prob­lems.”

Prob­lem gam­blers come from all walks of life and of­ten pass their habit from one gen­er­a­tion to the next.

How­ever, only 17 per cent of prob­lem gam­blers ac­tu­ally seek help for their de­struc­tive habit – some­thing Cen­tacare is try­ing to change. “There is ev­i­dence of a cor­re­la­tion be­tween gam­bling prob­lems and fam­ily vi­o­lence and chil­dren of prob­lem- gam­bling par­ents are at much higher risk of de­vel­op­ing gam­bling prob­lems them­selves,” Ms Day­day said.

As part of Re­spon­si­ble Gam­bling Aware­ness week, the group has been busy in­creas­ing their pro­mo­tion of re­spon­si­ble gam­bling tips.

For help, phone Cen­tacare Townsville on 4772 9000 or Gam­bling Helpline on 1800 858 858 or visit gam­blinghelpon­line. org. au.

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