More than $34 million has been saved on the Mornington Peninsula while poker machines have been shut down due to COVID-19, while Victoria has just passed $1 billion in savings.
Mornington Peninsula Shire Mayor Councillor Sam Hearn said “we have a strong commitment to ensuring the health and wellbeing of our local community”.
“Gambling related harm can impact us in ways we don’t always see and can affect our health and community services, education institutions, workplaces and local businesses. It can take a toll on our personal lives too, damaging families and straining friendships.
“Especially during these unprecedented times, it’s important we support those who may be struggling and are more vulnerable to gambling harm.
“Even though people can’t access poker machines during the lockdown, gambling is still accessible online, and we need to support others who may have stopped and are struggling with this change in behaviour,” concluded Cr Hearn.
Alliance for Gambling Reform Chief Advocate the Rev Tim Costello said “COVID-19 is presenting us with a unique opportunity to rethink the dire situation Australia has gotten itself into with the prevalence of gambling. Australians lost $25 billion gambling last year, the highest rate of losses per head in the entire world”.
“Gambling harm impacts more people than most of us realise. The stigma associated with it often prevents people from speaking up or seeking help, and we must overcome this. As an addictive product, gambling can be sought out by people to self-soothe during times of stress. Gambling is also known to increase during economic crises. This is a major concern right now”.
Getting help and support
If you or someone you know is experiencing issues with gambling, we encourage you to reach out to Gambler’s Help on 1800 858 858 or gamblershelp.com.au.