The Multicultural Problem Gambling Program for Chinese Communities assists problem gamblers and their families from Chinese communities living in the Western, South Western Sydney and the Sydney Central Business District areas. The service provides quality and accessible counselling, treatment and support services.
Confidential assistance includes free telephone counselling, information advice and referral as well as one to one counselling in Chinese languages.
Gambling was brought to Australia by the First Fleet in 1788. A game of toss and spin was popular and evolved to be Two Up which is still played legally every year on ANZAC day. The first Melbourne Cup was run in 1861. In 1956 poker machines were legalised in NSW clubs. TAB off-course betting was established. In 1984 hotels were permitted to install gaming machines. By 1992 NSW clubs were required to be licensed to install gaming machines. Following this the Star City Casino opened in 1995. In 1997 a telephone counselling and referral services for problem gamblers and their families was launched in NSW.
In 2018, NSW had 93,618 poker machines installed in pubs, clubs and the casino. (Liquor and Gambling NSW, Gaming Machine Data, 8 May 2020)
In 2017/18 the total gambling expenditure in NSW was reportedly $9.8billion; 88.04% was spent gaming (gaming machines, casino table games, lotto, keno, instant lottery and pools), 10.15% racing, and 1.81% sports betting.
NSW residents lost an average of $1,593.99 per capita in gambling, close to 70% through spending playing poker machines. In the same year the gambling tax revenue collected by the Government reached $2.3 billion in NSW alone. (Australian Gambling Statistics, 35th edition, 2019)
The surge in online gambling continues to grow. In August 2020, the average spend per month on online gambling was $1,130 per gambler, which was $14 higher than July 2020 ($1,116). It’s the fifth month in a row that the average spend per gambler has climbed in the past 12 months. (Finder, Gambling Statistics Australia)
The main reason that you have not given up on gambling is that you believe that you still have a chance to win back all your losses. If you really want to quit gambling, you have to ask yourself why you want to quit. You need to understand how gambling affects your work, relationships, health and credibility, and to ponder the consequences of continuous gambling. By seeking professional help, through counselling, you can be assisted to reduce or stop gambling gradually.
Trying to recover your losses will only result in losing even more. This is the reality for all gamblers. You will achieve better results by disentangling yourself from gambling, understanding false beliefs around gambling, learning financial management, concentrating on work or study and beginning to pay off your debts. In this way your savings will gradually increase.
Having no debt or paying a debt off and quitting gambling are different things. You should ask yourself the question: what else in my life is negatively affected by my gambling? If you do look at the impact of gambling in all aspects of your life you risk returning to your previous cycle of gambling after repaying the debt.
Family members can take the initiative and ask for help, learn how to protect themselves, take care of their assets, and encourage gamblers to seek professional help for their gambling problems.
It is better to allow gamblers pay their own gambling debts. If gamblers do not bear the consequences of gambling they will have no incentive to commit to stopping gambling.
In addition to gambling counselling, MPGS can refer gamblers to free and confidential financial counselling or legal assistance to help them deal with debt or legal issues.
The Multicultural Problem Gambling Program for Chinese Communities is hosted by the Transcultural Mental Health Centre within the Western Sydney Local Health District. Financial assistance for this program is provided by the New South Wales Government through the NSW Government, Office of Responsible Gambling.