Focus on gambling harm

LOCAL gambling support services will be spreading the word about how gambling affects the Port Lincoln community during this year's Gambling Harm Awareness Week.

The week runs from October 21 to 27 and Aboriginal Family Support Services community development worker Anna Angus will be using it to help educate and raise awareness about problem gambling.

The theme for the week this year is 'research into practice'.

"It is expected that we will utilise the key findings from the information which was gathered in the South Australian Gambling Prevalence Survey," Ms Angus said.

"I am arranging a few activities during the week the main one is a community information stall."

Ms Angus said the gambling prevalence survey found the number of people betting online had almost doubled in recent years.

The survey found 13 per cent of South Australians gambled online in the past year, a rise of 5 per cent since the last survey in 2012.

Ms Angus said it was because of those statistics that she decided to organise 'Unplugged' workshops in early November to help people understand problematic gaming, identify when a young person is at risk and help them manage healthy online use.

"Research indicates the blurring of boundaries between gambling and gaming, combined with social media advertising, exposes people at an early age to a gambling-like experience that may serve to normalise gambling as a suitable and acceptable activity," she said.

Ms Angus said getting gambling help was not about abstaining, it was about managing it and being in control.

"Gambling help services can assist people to gamble safely, can help with online and venue barring, basic financial management and, where required, with congnitive based therapies," she said.

She said a big part of Gambling Harm Awareness Week was about raising awareness and education that it could affect anyone.

Ms Angus said gambling harm was often silent and help was not accessed until a crisis point is reached.

"We have come a long way, we are using better language around it now but there is still a lot of stigma, a lot of shame associated with it so we would like to help educate and break some of that down," she said.

The Unplugged workshops, funded by the Office for Problem Gambling, will be held at the Port Lincoln Hotel on November 4 from 6pm to 8pm. The workshop is free but booking is required and can be done at https://www.trybooking.com/book/event?eid=559978&.