Approximately 20 per cent of people who use Gambling Help Services across Australia are family members of people who have a problem with their gambling.
Research estimates that for every person with a gambling problem, there are five to ten others who are negatively affected by it. (Productivity Commission 1999).
In 2015-2016, 23 per cent of callers to the SA Gambling Helpline were family members or a friend of a problem gambler.
This year’s Responsible Gambling Awareness Week (May 22-26) is focused on family members and significant others.
A new report into interactive gambling suggests that online gamblers could be at greater risk because of 24/7 availability, the use of credit not cash, and increased possibility of hiding betting from family and friends.
Ann Lawrence is a Peer Support Worker at Relationships Australia SA and knows firsthand what it is like to recover from a gambling problem and the impact it has on families.
“The consequences of my lived experience with mental health issues and problem gambling had a great impact on my family.” said Ms Lawrence.
Family members and significant others can have an important role in supporting the gambler to seek help.
Responsible Gambling Awareness Week events such as the free screening of ‘Ka-Ching! Pokie Nation’ at the Community Services Centre, Kingscote on Monday May 22 at 2pm are pivotal in educating friends, family and significant others about the role they can play and what services are available.
For immediate assistance, visit: problemgambling.sa.gov.au or call the 24/7 free and confidential hotline on 1800 8585 858.