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Responsible gambling awareness

Monday, 12th May, 2008

Responsible gambling awareness Responsible gambling awareness

This week is Responsible Gambling Awareness Week and the local Problem Gambling Service will be holding a free sausage sizzle.

It will be held at the Town Square on Thursday from 10am to 2pm and representatives of the Problem Gambling Service, Lifeline Services and local clubs will be on hand.

The Lifeline representatives can also help with financial counselling and general counselling.There will be a free sausage sizzle as well as donuts, fairy floss and face painting for the kids and radio station 2BH will be broadcasting live.

Responsible Gambling Awareness Week is part of a national effort supported by Problem Gambling Counselling Services, gambling venues, governments and other stake holders.The aim is to raise awareness of the risks of gambling, tips on how to stay in control, how to identify a problem and where to go if you need help.

Whilst gambling remains a form of entertainment for some, more people are having problems. The 1999 Federal Inquiry into gambling found that around 300,000 people had moderate to severe problems and for every problem gambler, there were at least five to 10 others affected.

It revealed that on average a problem gambler loses $12,000 per year compared to an average of $625 for other gamblers. The BH Gambling Service was established as an activity of Lifeline BH in 2001 with funding from the Responsible Gambling Fund. "We are a specialist service dealing in gambling and associated financial issues and we are available to gamblers and/or their families who are affected by their gambling," Co-ordinator Di Merritt said.

"Throughout NSW, like ourselves, other Problem Gambling Counselling Services are seeing similar trends with poker machines creating the majority of problem gambling situations," Ms Merritt said. "During this Responsible Gambling Awareness Week, we are urging all gamblers to take time out, think about your gambling, perhaps take a break and stay in control."

Ms Merritt said gambling was considered a problem if bills weren't paid on time, there were tensions in relationships, someone was going into debt to finance gambling, time was lost from work or study, money was borrowed and not repaid, or suicide was contemplated. "If gambling is becoming a problem please contact someone to talk about the situation," she said.

For free and confidential counselling phone G-Line on 1800 633 635 or the BH Problem Gambling Counselling Service on 8087 7525.

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