Gaming venues around the state have reopened, and Queensland Mental Health Commissioner Ivan Frkovic and Commissioner for Liquor and Gaming Victoria Thomson are encouraging Queenslanders to seek help if they are concerned that their gambling is becoming a problem.
“Problem gambling can be associated with factors such as alcohol and drug use, and trauma, depression, anxiety and mental ill-health,” Mr Frkovic said.
“We know that there is a relationship between these things, which is why good mental health and mental health awareness are so important.
“Seeking help for yourself or a loved one is the first step in addressing problem gambling behaviour.”
Ms Thomson said pandemic restrictions had closed traditional gaming venues such as pubs, clubs and casinos, but other options such as online gambling and lottery and scratch tickets remained.
Ms Thomson said gambling providers, support services and the Queensland Government had worked together to try to reduce the risk of problem gambling affecting vulnerable people, especially as venues have re-opened.
“People are worried about financial and employment instability, and this, coupled with isolation and anxiety, can make people more vulnerable to gambling harm,” she said.
“There is help, and there are support services out there that can assist you with your gambling.
“We know that these services work. We know that when people are able to access them, to connect up with thee services, that they make a huge difference.
“More than 95 per cent of people who access these services say that they help, and that they have reduced the amount of money that they’re spending on gambling.
“You’re not alone. Other people have been there, gotten help, and gotten out the other end. Help is available,” Ms Thomson said.
Mr Frkovic said many services had pivoted to provide online and telehealth support, making it easier to access help from anywhere.
The free and confidential Gambling Help telephone and online support is available 24-hours a day, seven days a week, and face-to-face Gambling Help counselling services are located across the state.
Ms Thomson said Gambling Help services could also help people to ban themselves from one or more gaming venues or gambling activities at a venue, remotely without having to attend the premises.
If you or a friend or family member need support, contact Gambling Help on 1800 858 858 or visit www.gamblinghelpqld.org.au.
Watch Mr Frkovic and Mr Thomson discuss gambling in a video here.