AUSTRALIANS reportedly lose more money on gambling each year, per person, than residents of any other country.
Encouraging them to bet is gambling advertising which is prominent across all media, particularly in sports.
Social researchers are questioning whether poker machines should be switched off for good as they are in Victoria now because of COVID-19 social distancing restrictions.
Mornington Peninsula Shire is one area of government counting the mental health costs and social disruption caused by gambling excesses. It says it is “committed to preventing gambling harm” in a world where smartphones are keeping us connected to betting sites.
To raise awareness of gambling-related harm, the shire is partnering with Gambler’s Help Southern and Self Help Addiction Resource Centre (SHARC).
“The normalisation of gambling as an accepted form of entertainment is causing harm without us even realising it,” the mayor Cr Sam Hearn said.
“[It] can impact us in ways we don’t always see and can affect our health and community services, education institutions, workplaces and local businesses.
“It can take a toll on our personal lives, too, damaging families and straining friendships. It’s important we support those who might not see the impact gambling is having on themselves and those around them.”
Gambler’s Help Southern provides free and confidential support to those concerned about their own gambling, or that of a loved one.
“By coming together as a community, I’m hopeful we can reduce gambling harm across the shire,” Cr Hearn said.
Visit: gamblershelpsouthern.org.au or call 9575 5353.