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The role of local government in reducing vulnerability to Problem Gambling Susan Rennie Problem Gambling Health Promotion Advisor.

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Presentation on theme: "The role of local government in reducing vulnerability to Problem Gambling Susan Rennie Problem Gambling Health Promotion Advisor."— Presentation transcript:

1 The role of local government in reducing vulnerability to Problem Gambling Susan Rennie Problem Gambling Health Promotion Advisor

2 Lyn’s Story Text is replacing photo I would like to start my presentation by introducing you to Lyn. Lyn, aged 64, is in trouble… She lives in her home a few kms north of the city. It is a modest home, rather run down but due to location her rates are now $1400 / annum. The pensioner discount brings that down slightly but Lyn can’t afford to pay. She is also worried about her telephone, gas and electricity being cut off. Early retirement a few years ago to care for aged mum. Respite worker didn’t want Lyn in the house when she was there. She didn’t really know where to go. Her Mum suggested the local RSL club because that is where the PAG group used to go for lunches. Lyn when to gaming venue. Became a habit. Soon went there every time she had respite. Lyn’s mum died two months ago. Now Lyn is at a loose end. She has been going more frequently to the RSL and whilst she is not spending hundreds each visit, over the course of the last few weeks she has lost $800. She hasn’t been seeing much of her family, they moved to an outer suburb.Tries not to make calls because of cost and has no money for petrol for her car. Lyn feels very stuck. Doesn’t want to gamble but has lost touch with friends, family and has few connections in the community. Meanwhile in an outer suburb, Lyn’s grandson has a few problems of his own…

3 Tom’s Story Tom lives in Greenvale heights on Melbourne’s outer fringe. He was doing pretty well until a few months ago. In a pre- apprenticeship program, playing footy lots with local footy club. When Tom turned 18 he went for a few drinks at footy club. His mates shouted him. Next week, it was Tom’s shout. Didn’t have enough money so popped into the gaming room next door, hoping to get lucky. Worst thing happened. Tom won $188. He spent the lot shouting the team drinks. Tom got a rush. He was the man of the night. Popped in mid week to try his luck again. Pretty soon he was popping in frequently and loosing all his money from part time job. Tom started getting pretty angry. Mates noticed and gave him hard time about playing so Tom started going to an alternative venue in town. On enigh, Tom got really drunk and angry. He smashed machine at club and was asked not to come back. Tom dropped out of footy. Instead, he started going into city and trying his luck at the Casino. No bus back from the city at night so he was often there all night, if not in the casino then in the city drinking and getting into a few fights. Picked up by police one night and put in a cell to dry off.

4 Data on gambling

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6 Potential harms from gambling IndividualsFamily Workplaces Communities Society Friends Groups, Clubs - stress, depression, anxiety, MH issues - job loss - financial hardship - family and relationship issues - loss of social supports and community connections - family neglect, domestic violence, relationship breakdown - poverty - homelessness - stigma and social isolation - absenteeism - job loss - poor performance - theft - lower participation rates - reduced resources available - increased reliance on welfare supports - community disempowerment - fewer jobs created by spending on EGMs than other spending - regressive tax - loss of confidence in government due to perceived conflict of interest - increased crime and associated costs

7 Determinants of problem gambling Low socio-economic status especially education / income levels High EGM density / spending Poor mental health and well-being Low knowledge and awareness Cultural attitudes and values Poor social connectedness Individual differences

8 Protective factors Community engagement and social connections Quality education and employment Freedom from violence and discrimination Community facilities and quality recreation and leisure opportunities

9 Environments for Health

10 Built / physical environment Land use planning Transport and traffic management Recreation facilities

11 Social environment Community support Art and cultural development Library services

12 Economic environment Community economic development Access and equity

13 Natural environment Water quality Waste management Energy consumption

14 Northern PCP initiative Goal Strengthen communities in the NMR so that they are less vulnerable to problem gambling Objectives 1.Increase the number and range of health promotion interventions which are taking place which address problem gambling and its broader determinants. 2.Increase the number of partnerships involving PCP member agencies which are working to address the determinants of problem gambling.

15 Example 1 Reducing the vulnerability of CALD groups GHN has undertaken work with an identified at- risk CALD group for 18 months –Group profile: low income & education levels, CALD community, high reported rates of problem gambling and family violence GHN work focused on social connectedness, alternatives to gambling and responsible gambling awareness Group continued to organise trips to the Casino believing that none of their members gambled, they just went for the good value meal…

16 Building capacity PCP worked with GHN to undertake some research that could provide the group with better knowledge about actual spending so that the group could make informed decisions Findings: Actual overall spending was over $1000 vs perceived cost of trip $270, several group members demonstrated Problem Gambling patterns, in particular planning to “chase losses” As a result of the research the group are not planning to organise future outings to the Casino and are writing this into their association’s policy. They are translating the findings into their community language.

17 Next steps Gamblers Help Northern Centre for Ethnicity and Health Northern PCP Initiative Work with the Casino and other gaming venues to raise the issue of marketing and the responsible provision of gaming and wagering. Form partnerships to work with communities to encourage them to consider alternatives to gaming related outings Develop risk reduction strategies to assist CALD groups and associations to build protective factors around their members if they continue to undertake these outings Migrant Resource Centre Ethnic Communitie s Council of Victoria Ethnic associations

18 Example 2 Influencing systemic change Conversations with staff at various agencies identified that workers sometimes take groups to gaming venues This exposed some people to risk How can we stop this occurring? Policy response

19 Barriers… “this is what we have always done…” “people can choose not to gamble…” “there are no good alternatives with cheap food and good access…” “it’s really difficult to change policies in our agency…” “the clients want to go there…”

20 Enablers Community attitudes and concern regarding pokies Resources Champions Capacity Building

21 Back to Lyn Lyn went to a free lunch organized by the Council for International women’s day. At the same time, council implemented a follow up program for people who were late paying rates. In this program they asked about financial matters including gambling, made referrals, offered counseling and a work it off scheme that enabled people in financial difficulty to get a further discount by volunteering in different community settings. Lyn got connected to the living books program at the library. She found that she like the library, very different from her youth when it was just books, had no idea that there were now magazines, music and free internet access. Lyn looked into the local neighbourhood house and U3A. She found they had some good programs and was interested in singing for pleasure and internet for beginners. Waste management services developed a partnership with the Office of Housing to reduce rubbish dumping in the local streets. With the area cleaned up, Lyn went for more walks in the area and reconnected with a few neighbours she hadn’t seen much since she started caring for her mum. Council sustainability services implanted a home auditing program for pensioners in the area. They then assisted people to make changes. Lyn’s bills went down a lot and this helped her get her finances back on track. With more money in her purse, Lyn filed up her car and went out to Greenvale Heights to see her grandson.

22 Back To Tom Tom’s Council became concerned when they saw data in The Age identifying their municipality as one where most young people caught up in city violence came from. They invited young people who had been arrested by the police to participate with them in developing responses. The first issue that came up was the lack of community transport back to Greenvale Heights at night. Council developed a partnership with the school bus company and organised a volunteer bus driver program which included bus driver training for people willing to drive the bus into the city on Friday and Saturday nights to pick up young people from the area who needed to get home. One of the stops was the Casino. Council also changed the grant program so that clubs with pokies could no longer access council grants nor assistance with writing applications for other grants. Council made the footy club aware of some of the young people who had started gambling in that context. With a review of licensing arrangements coming up, the footy club decided not to apply for a new license. Council leisure and recreation services organized a number of Get back to sport events for young people in the area who had dropped out of sporting clubs in their late teens. As part of this initiative Council worked with sports clubs on ways to reengage kids who had dropped out and how to make sport appealing to young people transitioning from education to employment. Tom joined the steering committee of this initiative as a consumer representative. He got back into footy and started a carpentry apprenticeship the following year.

23 Thank You For more information or to follow up:


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