Generic photos of Pokies / Gambling
Generic photos of Pokies / Gambling

State’s problem gambling issues mirrored in region

AS PEOPLE start lining up for pubs and clubs once again, one gambling help services has seen an increase in calls for help.

UnitingCare Queensland's Family and Disability Services general manager Luke Lindsay said during the COVID-19 pandemic, UnitingCare Queensland saw a reduction in the number of people reaching out for support for problem gambling, "largely due to pubs and clubs being closed due to the restrictions".

"Since the reopening of pubs and clubs in mid-May, the Gambling Help Services have seen a moderate increase over the past two months," Mr Lindsay said.

UnitingCare Queensland has been providing the Gambling Help Service in the Wide Bay-Burnett region since February 2016.

Mr Lindsay said the service in the Bundaberg region provides free counselling and support to adults who are impacted by the harmful effects of gambling.

"Many of the local issues with problem gambling mirror the common issues across Queensland. Problem gambling is multifaceted," he said.

"What we see (is) adults gamble for an array of reasons including social engagement, financial gain, entertainment or as a way of coping from personal issues.

"Having an awareness of why you gamble is very helpful if you want to change."

Mr Lindsay said the service provides community education and training to groups in the community, to other service providers, to the gambling industry as well as venue staff.

"UnitingCare Queensland provides free gambling counselling, support and information to individuals and families in person at our office dependent on current COVID-19 safety measures, via video calls or phone," he said.

"Seeking support can make a difference to the wellbeing of the individual experiencing problems gambling, their friends and family.

"Support can reduce the impact of financial loss and hardship, preoccupation and the impact this has on people's mental health."

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