With just the click of a button, problem gamblers living anywhere in NSW will be able to use a secure website to ban themselves from their local clubs.
Roll-out of the online technology commences today on the NSW Far North Coast with training for club staff and local gambling counsellors.
The technology allows problem gamblers to complete a legally binding self exclusion document in the presence of a gambling counsellor or a trained facilitator at their local club. Previously the individual had to visit each club individually.
Additionally, the problem gambler can now choose to ban themselves from multiple clubs rather than the time consuming process of visiting each venue and repeating the process time and again.
Problem gamblers are provided with the following self-exclusion options:
- banning from the club
- banning from any area of the club with poker machines
- banning from any area of the club where gambling takes place such as poker machines, Keno and ClubTAB.
Development of the multi-venue self exclusion system will be expanded across the State over the next 12 months and comes after 18 months development by ClubsNSW.
The rollout of the program follows a 6 month trial of the online system in 51 clubs in Broken Hill and the Central Coast. The respective trials were overseen by counsellors employed by Lifeline and UnitingCare Unifam.
The online system – the first of its kind in Australia – will be provided to NSW clubs and gambling counsellors to assist their clients free of charge.
ClubsNSW CEO Anthony Ball said self exclusion in combination with counselling is the best way of helping problem gamblers beat their addiction.
“During the 6 month trial 136 problem gamblers chose to ban themselves from a combined 569 clubs in Broken Hill and the Central Coast. Under the previous system, it could have taken weeks or even months for a problem gambler to visit each of those clubs and inform the staff they wanted to be banned from gambling.
“Self exclusion was introduced by clubs and hotels in NSW in 2000, with an estimated 3,000 people opting to ban themselves from a club or hotel each year. Clubs and hotels are subject to significant financial penalties if they knowingly allow a person to breach their self-exclusion.
“For some people, the time, effort and emotional investment needed to make multiple visits to a club is overwhelming or just too difficult to go through with.
“This scheme eliminates those barriers, and also provides an option for problem gamblers to avoid gaming venues altogether by completing the procedure at the office of a certified gambling counsellor.
“Previous studies have indicated that 90% of problem gamblers would prefer to self-ban from multiple venues in one go. This technology allows that to occur as well providing them with the choice of deciding if they want the counsellor to notify nominated family of their gambling addiction,” Anthony Ball said.
ClubSAFE Manager and gambling counsellor Rowan Cameron says that although self-exclusion is by no means a miracle cure-all for problem gamblers, it’s a highly effective tool providing a disincentive to re-enter the gaming environment, especially when utilised in conjunction with individual counselling.
An independent assessment by Macquarie University concluded that self exclusion services are profoundly valuable in assisting problem gamblers. Findings include:
- 88% of surveyed participants found the self-exclusion program to be satisfactory for their needs;
- 76% of surveyed participants found themselves financially better off after participating in the self-exclusion program;
- 65% cited significant improvement in their personal relationships as a result of participating in the program;
- More than 70% reported significant reductions in the money spent on gambling as a result of participating in the program.
The Minister for Gaming and Racing Minister George Souris and the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing have been updated regularly on the progress of the trial of multi-venue self exclusion.
Training in the use of the technology for the State’s almost 250 Government funded gambling counsellors has commenced and will be completed as the program is introduced in their respective regions.
Media: Jeremy Bath 0419 267 789