Voluntary barring changes could help reduce gambling harm in Port Lincoln

BARRING CHANGES: For gambling help call the 24/7 helpline on 1800 858 858, visit www.gamblinghelponline.org.au or download the Stay on Track App.
BARRING CHANGES: For gambling help call the 24/7 helpline on 1800 858 858, visit www.gamblinghelponline.org.au or download the Stay on Track App.

Changes to South Australian legislation will speed up the voluntary gambling barring process and could help reduce gambling harm in Port Lincoln.

Under the previous system it could take up to 10 days to process a voluntary barring and months to review it to determine if it would remain in place.

Instead people suffering from or at risk of gambling harm can now lodge and receive their barring order on the same day from venues across the state and 24 Australian online gambling sites and apps.

Aboriginal Family Support Service (AFSS) gambling help officer Anna Angus said someone could bar themselves from venues right across the Eyre Peninsula or further if they wanted to under the changes.

She said the barring process had been confusing in the past and the slow process had allowed people to change their minds.

“It’s only one of the tools available to address gambling harm,” Ms Angus said.

“Gambling harm doesn’t happen in isolation...it may band-aid the harm and stop them entering into venues, but it's not going to assist those underlying issues.”

The changes also added another step to the process whereby an individual’s information could be referred to a support service but only if they agreed.

Ms Angus said there were many positives but the only negative was that individuals may not want to be referred to counselling services to deal with underlying issues.

In the 2017/18 financial year people spent more than $8.5 million on gambling machines in Port Lincoln, but Ms Angus said that figure did not account for all the other means of gambling.

“There’s also lotto, Keno, online gambling and sports betting that could expand that number to almost $20 million,” she said.

She said the changes were a good step but people needed several support services to reduce gambling harm.

For gambling help call the 24/7 helpline on 1800 858 858, visit www.gamblinghelponline.org.au or download the Stay on Track App.