NSW Government Invests Record $100 Million into Gambling Harm Minimisation Ahead of GambleAware Week

October 18, 2023 | Government

NSW (October 16, 2023) — The first GambleAware Week under the Minns Labor government will focus on the true cost of gambling on the community and the record $100 million investment in harm minimisation to combat it.

The theme for this year’s GambleAware Week, which starts today, is ‘What’s gambling costing you?’ to encourage people to think beyond the monetary costs of gambling.

Gambling costs aren’t just measured in dollars, there are also family impacts including time away from loved ones, impacts on physical and mental health and community impacts.

The first Minns Labor government budget delivered a $100 million funding injection to reduce gambling harm across NSW.

Funding for gambling harm minimisation is the next important step in the government’s long-term commitment to tackling money laundering, implement gaming reform and reduce the harmful impacts of gambling across communities.

The NSW Government will redirect the $100 million fine imposed on Star Casino by the NSW Independent Casino Commission (NICC) over 5 years to fund harm minimisation initiatives.

This huge funding injection will allow for the enhancement of services and initiatives to reduce harm in the community from gambling including:

  • $6.4 million to enhance self-exclusion and introduce third-party exclusions in pubs and clubs
  • $3.4 million for the independent panel, established in July this year, to run and evaluate a cashless gaming trial in pubs and clubs, with expressions of interest recently called for venues to take part.
  • $21.7 million each year, for 3 years, from 2024–2025 to fund other gambling harm minimisation initiatives and reforms, including those recommended by the independent panel.
  • $10 million additional investment in 2023 for the Responsible Gambling Fund, through the Office of Responsible Gambling, for the provision of GambleAware counselling and support services.
  • As more and more people are exposed to gambling, through sports betting, gambling advertising, or even gambling through kids’ games, GambleAware Week aims to increase awareness of the risks of gambling and ensure people know where to find help and support services in NSW communities.
  • GambleAware local service providers are located in every health district across the state, and are there to help anyone who thinks themselves, their friends or family members might be participating in risky gambling behaviours.

The GambleAware phone line 1800 858 858 is open 24 hours a day for anyone needing support. It is free and confidential.

Forty-five events are being held right across the state over the 5 days to educate parents and the wider community about the risks of gambling harm and the wide range of information and support available.

Event highlights include GambleAware Week showcases in Goulburn, Shellharbour and Unanderra; and roundtables in Bankstown, Liverpool and Campbelltown. Information sessions, workshops and community drop in events are being held in Wallsend, Albury, Bathurst, Wyong, Manly, Mayfield, Belmont and Hornsby. Information stalls will be located at key shopping centres including Freedom Plaza Cabramatta, Miranda Westfield and Westfield Bondi Junction.

Local councils are getting on board too with free events at Manly, Mona Vale and Hornsby libraries. Major clubs are doing their part too hosting events including at Tradies Gymea, Panthers Bathurst, St George Leagues Club and Souths Juniors.

For those directly impacted by gambling harm there will be access to essential items and support at key times from Prosper at the Rotary Community Centre Campsie and through the Newtown Mission at the Newtown Neighbourhood Centre.

The community is encouraged to take advantage of these special events to get the support they need with a number of online options available as well.

GambleAware Week runs from Monday 16 October to Sunday 22 October.

Minister for Gaming and Racing David Harris said:

“We know there are people out there experiencing gambling harm in our community, and we are concerned the impact this has on individuals, their families and the broader community.

“We are committed to increasing awareness of the risks of gambling, in all forms, and I can assure people there is a lot of help and support out there in NSW communities, that is freely available and accessible.

“This GambleAware Week we encourage everyone to talk with friends, family or colleagues if you are worried about what gambling could be costing them.

“Our first budget delivers $100 million in harm minimisation initiatives, including funding for the NSW Office of Responsible Gambling to provide support to people affected by gambling harm through these GambleAware services as well as working to prevent harm before it occurs by investing in education and awareness raising.

“Everyone has a role to play in keeping our community safe. We encourage everyone to take part in GambleAware Week and show our combined commitment to preventing gambling harm.

“One of our key election commitments was to ban external gambling signage from venues, as we know that can be triggering for gamblers, and that ban is in place as of 1 September this year, with 99% of venues compliant. It shows that when government, industry and community work together we can get positive results.”

Removal of all external signage is just one part of the NSW Government’s broader gaming reform to reduce harm including:

  • reducing the cash input limit from $5000 to $500 for all new electronic gaming machines from 1 July 2023
  • capping the number of gaming machine entitlements in circulation
  • banning political donations from clubs involved in gaming
  • introducing Responsible Gaming Officers at venues with more than 20 machines
  • expanding a third-party exclusion register to the whole state
  • establishing an independent panel of expert stakeholders including industry, harm minimisation organisations, academics, law enforcement, cyber security and the union movement to oversee the cashless gaming trial and recommend an implementation roadmap for gaming reforms.

SOURCE: Released by: Minister for Gaming and Racing

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