Counselling service high in demand

Image: Website of Coast Community Connections

Coast Community Connections’ free gambling counselling service, Gambling Solutions, has confirmed that it is experiencing an increase in demand for its services each and every day.

A recent NSW Government report identified the Central Coast as having “a high gambling risk”, and Gambling Solutions, funded by the Responsible Gambling Fund, has doubled its support staff in the last two years. Ms Theresa Mason, Chief Executive Officer of Coast Community Connections, said that the Gambling Solutions team, made up of four therapeutic counsellors and one financial counsellor, is pleased with the recently announced state government reforms to increase funding and introduce local community poker machine caps in NSW. Despite 2017 seeing a reduction in the number of gaming machines on the Central Coast, registered clubs and pubs have seen an increase in spending on machines.

The Department of Liquor and Gaming’s half-yearly Gaming Machine Reports indicate that for the period of December, 2016, to May, 2017, Central Coast pubs and clubs recorded a total net profit on gaming of more than $128m. In the following months of June to November 2017, these same venues recorded $135m, an increase of more than $7m, just on the Central Coast. “Our Gambling Solutions team are seeing day in and day out the effect that problem gambling has on the individual, their family and friends.

“Any government support to assist with community education or reducing the risk of problem gambling on locals is encouraged,” continued Ms Mason. “Aside from our Gambling Solutions counsellors, we have also introduced a financial counsellor to the team to assist with information, support and advocacy to assist people in financial difficulty,” she added. Gambling Solutions assists problem gamblers and their families on the Central Coast for free and with complete confidentiality.

Source: Media release, Mar 22 Katey Small, Brilliant Logic

Details about the program can be found here