Wed, Apr 24, 12:04pm by Kevin Pitstock
The New South Wales government announced on April 23 it would give up to $48 million to dozens of different programs across the state in order to help problem gambling. The programs listed include 56 different religious and community groups. The funds are to be distributed by New South Wales over a four-year period.
Ludomania, or “problem gambling”, is an urge to continue gambling, despite a less powerful desire to quit or the negative consequences of continued play. The condition is called “gambling addiction” because it appears to have a pathological aspect. Problem gambling affects millions of gamblers worldwide.
Experts suggest gaming machines and scratch-off lottery tickets cause the most problems for players, though any game has its problem players. Civic organizations, counselling agencies, and non-profits throughout Australia try to help pathological gamblers and the families affected by their play. This includes those who need counselling, those with legal problems, and even those who don’t speak English as a first language.
The subsidies the New South Wales government is offering are much needed. An organization like St. Vincent’s Hospital in Darlinghurt is set to receive nearly $525,000, while the Wesley Mission in Kogorah should receive over $613,000. The Arab Council Australia (Canterbury) gets the least amount at just over $60,000.
The new funds are not the only way the New South Wales government seeks to help people with gambling issues. Their website, Gambling Help NSW, provides information, tools, and FAQs to help assist people who need help. People navigating to the page not only learn about the costs of gambling to an individual, but they can learn where to find health and welfare professionals in your area. The NSW government even offers handy apps for iPhone and Android phones to help you cope with gaming issues. Help for non-English speakers exists, too.
People might wonder why this is a state government’s concern. The state and national governments of Australia receive massive revenues each year from indirect taxes on casino operations and direct fees for lottery tickets. For the government of New South Wales, their citizens’ playing habits are a huge net gain. It would be hypocritical to assume the government’s role in licensing, regulating, and taxing the industry has no effect on gamblers with problems. It’s only right for the government to combat issues which affect citizens and their families by returning a small portion of those gaming reviews to groups who help the worst affected.
This is welcome news in the land-based and online gambling industries, too. It’s a mistake to believe online casino operators and their affiliates want problem gamblers on their websites. They want players with healthy bank accounts who enjoy gaming as a relaxing hobby or a thrilling entertainment.
Problem players only bring bad publicity to the casino industry, while turning the public against their industry. That’s why the industry establishes gambling assistance organizations like GamCare, a United Kingdom based industry-run organization for problem gamblers which has been around since 1997.
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