Responsible Gambling Awareness Week
This week, 23-29 May, is Responsible Gambling Awareness Week. Australia has the highest rate of gambling in the world with over 80% of adults engaged in gambling of some kind. Australia’s gambling spend per capita is also the highest in the world. In 2013 an average of US$866 was spent per capita on gambling. This startling statistic accounts for every person in Australia, including children.
Problem gambling is a serious, yet sometimes overlooked issue in our society. Gambling can have severe consequences and can lead to depression, relationship breakdown, financial stress and even criminal activity.
With increasing access to Internet and phones these days, people are faced with greater temptation to gamble online and 24 hours a day. This is a frightening thought.
The impact of gambling addiction is devastating not only on the individual but also on the people around them. It is estimated that up to 10 people can be impacted by another person’s gambling.
However, research also reveals that family and friends can in turn make a significant difference in helping a gambler to recover. Samaritans Gambling Help service provides free resources to help family members, friends and colleagues to support their loved ones to break the addiction.
I believe more emphasis needs to be put on the issue of problem gambling in our society and ways to combat this. Let’s stop underestimating the destructive nature of gambling.