During Responsible Gambling Awareness Week 2021, the Palaszczuk government announced the gambling harm minimisation plan for Queensland 2021-25.
The plan describes the shared roles and responsibilities for government, business, and community to decrease gaming-related harm in Queensland. It is a four-year commitment to prevent and minimise gambling harm to Queenslanders, families, and local communities.
This involves a focus on industry social responsibility as well as the use of technical, collaborative, and systemic measures to reducing gambling-related harm.
Gambling a complex social issue
Shannon Fentiman, attorney general and minister for justice said: “We all have a role to play in supporting Queenslanders to gamble safely.
“There is no doubt that gambling is a complex social issue that not only impacts the gambler themself, but their family, workplace and the wider community.
“The harm can also have a ripple effect across all aspects of life – with relationships, mental health and finances falling victim. The most recent Queensland household gambling survey found that 70 per cent of Queenslanders gamble.
“While only a small proportion of these people would be classified as problem gamblers, we need to ensure that all gamblers are protected from harm.”
Reducing the stigma
Fentiman goes on to say that this year’s RGAW theme, “When gambling took over…”, is in support of a new Queensland government campaign aimed at reducing the stigma associated with problem gambling and encouraging gamblers to seek treatment and information.
“Over recent years, we have seen many changes in the ways people gamble,” she added.
“With a growing number of interstate and international gambling operators providing online services; digital technology and advertising exposing Queenslanders to gambling at a very young age – we need to make sure Queenslanders have the support they need to seek help and recognise the signs of problem gambling.”
The Queensland government’s responsible gaming advisory committee, whose members come from business, community, and government, informed the gambling harm minimisation plan.
The RGAC has a history of collaborating to address gambling damage in the state, and it will be in charge of putting the strategy into action. Stakeholders in charge of critical actions, as well as others who may be affected, will be able to contribute to deliverables.
Identifying those at risk
Commissioner of Liquor and Gaming Victoria Thomson stated: “We need to broaden our focus beyond ‘the problem gambler’ and focus our attention on preventing harm before it occurs by identifying those ‘at risk and intervening early’.
“There will be a shift from ‘responsible gambling’ to a ‘safer gambling’ framework that recognises there are safe levels of gambling activity and ways for industry to provide safer gambling environments.
“We will only be able to achieve this through a collaborative and coordinated effort – creating safer gambling environments, that also include partnerships across sectors, venues and gambling help service providers.
“Significant work has already been done to prevent and minimise gambling-related harm in Queensland, but I also know that by shifting focus, acknowledging new trends and technologies and working as a team we can go so much further to protect people.”