Tasmanians Want More Support for Problem Gamblers

Problem gambling continues to be a major problem across Australia, and it is important that people affected get the help they receive. However, specialists in Tasmania are doubtful that gambling addicting support programs are receiving adequate funding, and have called on the government to take action.

Poker machine operators pay into the State Government’s Community Support Levy based on their gross profits, and the fund is used for problem gambling research, education and rehabilitation. Unfortunately, Sarah Charlton, chief executive of Holyoake problem gambling treatment centre, states that very little money from gaming taxes is used to treat problem gamblers.

“‘There is no more money, don’t bother asking for it because there is no more’,” she said in an interview with ABC News. “Every time a tender comes out, which is few and far between these days, we put our hand up along with all the others.

Charlton states that problem gambling treatment is a long process that requires significant funding from the government. It takes more than a single phone call or therapy session to help gambling addicts kick their habits. Intensive psychotherapy is often required, but Holyoake does not receive the funding necessary to run these types of programs.

She also states that the key to reducing problem gambling rates is more complex than simply removing games from the state. The general public requires education about safe gambling habits, and gaming operators should be dedicated to responsible gambling as well.

To apply for a Community Support Levy grant, visit the Department of Health and Human Services. The deadline for applications for the 2015-16 year is over, but the DHHS will soon be accepting applications for the 2016-17 year. Many support groups across the state receive funding through this program, and your organisation could benefit from the Community Support Levy, too.

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