Support on hand during Spring Carnival and beyond

Posted on: Thursday, 20 October 2016

With the Spring Racing Carnival now in full swing, Victorians are being reminded of the gambling support services available to them should they require assistance.

Turning Point operates phone service Gamblers’ Help, and online service Gambling Help Online. Both offer free and confidential support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Gambling Services Co-ordinator Dr Jane Oakes said Turning Point’s team of counsellors are here to help.

“Making that first call for help isn’t easy. However, our counsellors are here for people who may be having gambling issues, or for people who may have concerns about friend or family member’s gambling.”

Dr Oakes said some people find reaching out for help anonymously by chatting online to one of our trained counsellors is a good way to begin to seek support.

As well as being given the opportunity to speak to a counsellor online, the Gambling Help Online website offers a range of self-help strategies, hints and tips which cover the signs of problem gambling and how to go about making a positive change. There is also calculator where you can assess how much you are spending on gambling as well as online forums to see how others are making positive changes.

Dr Oakes said it is important that people set limits and stuck to them, should they decide to gamble.

“However, sticking to limits can be hard once you start gambling so it’s important to keep your money safe. Only take what you can afford to gamble.”

Dr Oakes said for some people having a once a year punt during the Spring Carnival is not an issue. However, it becomes a problem when you are spending more money or more time on gambling than you had planned to.

“If you are having difficulty managing gambling impulses, it could have negative consequences with other areas of your life. Sometimes people feel disappointed in themselves when their urge to gamble becomes too strong to resist and they gamble despite best intentions not too.

“It’s normal to feel upset under these circumstances, so it’s important to seek support to begin the process of recovery. “

Dr Oakes said people seeking support came from a range of backgrounds.

“Addiction issues do not discriminate. The people who we provide support to are from all ages, cultures and socioeconomic groups.”

While horse racing may be the current gambling focus for many, Dr Oakes said Turning Point provided support to people who may have concerns with other forms of gambling.

“It might be poker machines, sports betting or even lottery tickets. The end game is that they can all have a negative effect on you and your family. So, it is important people are aware there is support out there to help you get back on track."

For gambling support, call Gamblers’ Help on 1800 858 858 or visit www.gamblinghelponline.org.au