Step number one: Call Gamblers Help
What support is available for Tasmanians struggling with gambling addiction? Anglicare delivers support and community education through the free Gamblers Help service.
A critical first step is for a person to understand that their gambling has become a problem, said Anglicare’s Ruth Rowlands (pictured above.)
“Gambling impacts a person’s finances, their personal relationships, career and mental health but sometimes it can take a long time for people to accept the reality of their situation,” she says.
“The psychology of addiction means that a person is not in control of their behaviour. If they are betting and losing, they will simply try harder to win.
“Our Gamblers Help counsellors can help people to understand what triggers their gambling and how they can cope when they get the urge to gamble. Our service is here to support and encourage, and build a greater understanding in the community that gambling is as addictive as drugs and alcohol.”
One strategy available is self-exclusion. This is when a person chooses to be barred from gambling venues such as casinos, pubs and clubs and TAB outlets. The venue will have the person’s photograph on file and they will not be allowed in.
“Self-excluding from gambling venues can have a huge impact on someone’s gambling behaviour and in some cases it stops people from gambling completely,” Ruth says.
While most gambling harm in Tasmania is associated with poker machines, Anglicare’s counsellors are seeing more clients turning to using their mobile phone to bet on sports online.
An Anglicare Gamblers Help counsellor can assist people with blocking online gambling content and unwanted messages from people such as bookmakers.
“It’s technically very easy for a person to block gambling websites and direct messages that encourage their gambling behaviour, but this relies very much on the individual’s level of self-awareness and their state of mind,” Ruth said.
How can I block gambling content on my iPhone?
- The first step is to open up ‘Settings’. This can be accessed from your iPhone’s home screen
- Next, select ‘General’
- Now, you need to click on ‘Restrictions’
- If you have already enabled your iPhone’s restrictions, you will need to enter your passcode. Otherwise, you need to enable Restrictions, and create a new passcode
- Under ‘Allowed Content’, you need to click on ‘Websites’
- The next step is to click on ‘Add a Website’. You will see this listed under ‘Never Allow’
- The last step is to click ‘Done’. The website will now be blocked
- You can repeat this for all the sites you want to block.
There are also apps available that will block iPhone, iPad and Android gambling.
A Gamblers Help counsellor can also help to request assistance from a financial institution. Anglicare is aware that Westpac, ANZ and NAB have all introduced a gambling block where customers can elect to have gambling transactions stopped via blocks in their apps and online banking portals. It understands that CBA will introduce an app block soon that will be available to customers on request.
If you live in the South or the North West, contact Gamblers Help by phoning Anglicare on 1800 243 232. If you live in the North, contact Relationships Australia (Tasmania).
The Gamblers Help Family Resource Booklet describes warning signs, strategies for starting a conversation and how families can support a loved one while also looking after themselves. You can download a copy of the booklet here.
Read Ben’s story here. Ben is a real Tasmanian whose name we have changed to protect his identity.