Gambling harm program celebrated

July 3, 2022 BY

Partners: Sports Central’s Andrew Milligan, recovered problem gambler Lynda Genser, BENH’s Sarah Greenwood-Smith and BCH’s Kate Diamond-Keith marked the end of the program. Photo: EDWINA WILLIAMS

BALLARAT Community Health and sixteen partner organisations have celebrated the conclusion of their All-In Gambling Harm Prevention Project.

Project officer Kate Diamond-Keith said All-In ran for two-and-a-half years, striving to raise awareness of gambling harm within the community, and reduce its impact.

“Through the project we’ve been able to promote Gambler’s Help services, reduce stigma, and encourage people to get out and do other activities instead of gambling,” she said.

“We worked with local organisations including Cafs, the Ballarat East Neighbourhood House, the Salvation Army, Sports Central and, Reclink, to help their staff and clients, and worked to raise awareness throughout the general Ballarat community as well.”

Ms Diamond-Keith said All-In had a wide reach and was successful when it came to changing attitudes and behaviours around gambling.

“The project has really opened people’s minds to gambling harm as something to be aware of, and how they can support the people in their lives, their family and friends, to get help as well,” she said.

BENH’s Sarah Greenwood-Smith said her team was part of the project as they offer activities and recreation opportunities for people of all ages and experiences all-year round that can be positive alternatives to gambling.

“It’s been fantastic to promote what it is that we do at Neighbourhood Houses, from tai chi, to art and education classes,” she said.

“We offer so much in a grassroots way to support really important messages, like reducing gambling harm.”

Sports Central programs manager Andrew Milligan said gambling advertising in sport, which targets young people, was a major issue they looked at.

“If you go to a sports game with young people, as soon as they come off the ground, they’re often checking their phones, maybe for the score of an AFL game, or to check the outcome if they have made a bet,” he said.

“It’s never been more easy to gamble, especially for young people, so we thought it really important to be involved in the project.

“Historically, a lot of sporting clubs have run gambling-related events as part of their social calendar, so if we can encourage clubs to think outside the square and adjust their thinking around that, it would be a great help.”

Although the project has concluded, Ms Diamond-Keith said the organisations that took part will continue to work with their teams and clients to reduce gambling harm and stigma.