New plan to tackle gambling harm in Queensland

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Minister for Women and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence The Honourable Shannon Fentiman

A four-year plan to prevent and minimise gambling harm to Queenslanders, families, and local communities has been released by the Palaszczuk Government during Responsible Gambling Awareness Week (RGAW) 2021.

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Shannon Fentiman said the gambling harm minimisation plan for Queensland 2021-25 outlined the shared roles and responsibilities for government, industry and community to reduce gambling-related harm in the state.

“We all have a role to play in supporting Queenslanders to gamble safely,” Minister Fentiman said.

“There is no doubt that gambling is a complex social issue that not only impacts the gambler themself, but their family, workplace and the wider community.

“The harm can also have a ripple effect across all aspects of life – with relationships, mental health and finances falling victim.

“The most recent Queensland household gambling survey found that 70 per cent of Queenslanders gamble.

“While only a small proportion of these people would be classified as problem gamblers, we need to ensure that all gamblers are protected from harm.”

The Attorney-General said this year’s RGAW theme, ‘When gambling took over…’, supports a new Queensland Government campaign which aims to reduce the stigma around problem gambling and drive behavioural change by encouraging gamblers to seek help and information.

“Over recent years, we have seen many changes in the ways people gamble,” she said.

“With a growing number of interstate and international gambling operators providing online services; digital technology and advertising exposing Queenslanders to gambling at a very young age – we need to make sure Queenslanders have the support they need to seek help and recognise the signs of problem gambling.”

The Commissioner for Liquor and Gaming, Victoria Thomson said that the plan places an emphasis on industry social responsibility, while maintaining the current public health approach.

“We need to broaden our focus beyond ‘the problem gambler’ and focus our attention on preventing harm before it occurs by identifying those ‘at risk and intervening early’,” Ms Thomson said.

“There will be a shift from ‘responsible gambling’ to a ‘safer gambling’ framework that recognises there are safe levels of gambling activity and ways for industry to provide safer gambling environments.

“We will only be able to achieve this through a collaborative and coordinated effort – creating safer gambling environments, that also include partnerships across sectors, venues and Gambling Help service providers.

“Significant work has already been done to prevent and minimise gambling-related harm in Queensland, but I also know that by shifting focus, acknowledging new trends and technologies and working as a team we can go so much further to protect people.”

The Gambling harm minimisation plan was informed by the Queensland Government’s Responsible Gambling Advisory Committee (RGAC) whose members come from across industry, community and government.

The RGAC has had a long history of working collaboratively to address gambling harm in the state and will take the lead in the implementation of the plan. Stakeholders responsible for key actions, or those who may be impacted, will have an opportunity to contribute towards deliverables.

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