Mark McGowan

Mark McGowan

Minister for Education and Training; South West

    WA launches blitz on problem gambling

    9/08/2005 12:00 AM

    The Gallop Government has launched an advertising blitz to maintain Western Australia’s low incidence of problem gambling.

    Launching the campaign today, Racing and Gaming Minister Mark McGowan said about 700 problem gamblers presented for help each year in WA.

    “This number is relatively low compared to the rest of the nation due to our strict no-pokies policy,” Mr McGowan said.

    “On average, each Western Australian loses $493 on gambling per year, compared with the national average of $1,066.

    “The statistics speak for themselves on this issue and reaffirm our commitment to keep pokies out of the wider community.”

    The Minister said more than $470,000 would be spent over the coming year on counselling services and raising awareness of problem gambling.

    “Over the next two months, we will be advertising the Problem Gambling Helpline number on radio, bus shelters, buses and in newspapers,” he said.

    “Posters, brochures and wallet cards will also be displayed and made available at gambling venues - TAB agencies, the casino and Lotto outlets.

    “Despite WA having one of the lowest incidences of problem gambling in the nation, we realise that it remains a very real problem for those affected.

    “While the vast majority of people enjoy a bet from time to time, there are some people who are more prone to developing problems with their gambling and it is important that help is available when they need it.

    “I strongly urge people who think they may have a problem with their gambling to ring the toll-free number (1800 622 112) and seek help.”

    Mr McGowan said free face-to-face counselling was available to people who called the helpline.

    “I am particularly pleased that people in rural and remote WA will now also have access to help through ongoing telephone counselling,” he said.

    “Previously, people who could not make it to face-to-face counselling sessions did not receive the same level of service as those in the city.

    “The Gallop Government is committed to improving services to all Western Australians, no matter where they live.”

    The Problem Gambling Support Services Committee, comprising representatives from Government and the gambling industry, has funded the campaign and the support services.

    Minister's office: 9222 9111