Well respected Social welfare agency St Luke’s, has a rather new approach to tackle problem gambling...reaching out to workers at the Bendigo region’s gaming venues. St Luke’s will kick off its new venue support worker program, aimed at helping staff at gaming venues recognise and assist potential problem gamblers.
The initiative comes as a new Victorian Commission for Gambling Regulation survey of gaming venue managers and staff showed about two-thirds were less than comfortable to approach someone with a gambling problem and that almost 10% had never been instructed on dealing with problem gamblers. Trevor Rice is one of 26 Gamblers Help venue support workers across Victoria and covers 23 venues in the area from Gisborne and Maryborough to Swan Hill and Echuca.
"I go and work out with the venues what training they require. Most venues are looking at how to approach people, and I think it’s a confidence thing. We’ve had some good responses. Some are very proactive, and all of the managers are very positive about the program."
Rice said a problem gambler may exhibit one of more than 100 signs, including playing for long periods, attachment to a particular machine, aggression and continued visits to ATMs. Bendigo Stadium chief executive officer Eric Pascoe said Rice began training staff at the stadium last week after he initiated a meeting with Rice and Gamblers Help counsellors at St Luke’s.
"The stadium is a community organisation, and we wanted to be a leader in helping problem gamblers and take a very active approach. Some insiders question if a staff member should be required to look out for over 100 different signs in players, thinking that may be more the thing for a body language expert of psychologist, attempting to move the responsibility and legal burden to a club employer.”
A Media Man spokesperson said "In regard to watching out to problem gamblers, the program has some merit, but it looks like there may be some buck passing going on already. Club workers are not psychologists. One may question if them having to remember up to 100 signs of a problem gambler is fair cop. An agro patron being questioned if they have a problem may also potentially wish to argue or get in a fight with who questions them. This proposal is fraught with questions and risks".
Queensland Banana Benders Punters Spend $5 Million Bucks Per Day On Poker Machines...
Banana Benders sank almost $5 million a day into poker machines in the first month of this year. The state's more than 42,000 machines collected nearly $153 million in metered wins in January. This is about $10 million more than January last year and up more than $18 million for the year to date. Queensland Council of Social Service director Jill Lang advised the number of at-risk and problem gamblers lay between 8 and 9% and were responsible for about 40% per cent of money generated. Some insiders question the numbers, with social groups known to sometimes use misleading numbers in attempt to push their own agenda. Lang said QCOSS supports many of the recommendations from the ongoing federal parliamentary inquiry into gambling, including pre-commitment machines, where gamblers set a limit. She advised that along with slowing down the betting rate and removing ATMs from the area where possible, pre-commitment was a good idea, despite industry saying this week that it would be too expensive.
Clubs Queensland CEO Doug Flockhart said despite the higher year-to-date figures, the floods had led a drop in revenue in the central west by almost 44%. He said pokies upgrades would cost between $3500 and $5000 per machine. "Pre-commitment machines are another tool in the box. Any addict, whether it be alcohol or drugs, until they make the decision to stop, there'll be no way to stop them".
Greg Tingle is a Special Contributor to the Gambling911.com website. He operates the Media Man International site.