Last month the Foundation's third biennial conference Gambling Harm 2018: Taking Action for Change was held. Julie Ligeti (Chair of the Foundation Board) captured the significance of hosting the conference outside of Melbourne during her opening address 'Gambling harm does not stop at state borders. Hosting this conference in Geelong demonstrates our commitment to tackling harm in regional, rural and metropolitan areas'.
Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation Marlene Kairouz demonstrated the Foundation's commitment to addressing gambling harm in Aboriginal communities, announcing $200,000 funding to the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service (VAHS). Over the next three years VAHS will collaborate with the Foundation on a unique project, investigating the factors contributing to the recovery of VAHS clients who have experienced gambling harm. The conference brought together a diverse range of experts including national and international keynote speakers, presenters and delegates. The program explored a range of topics including gambling in Aboriginal communities and how gambling harm intersects with other public health issues in the community.
New Foundation funded research conducted by Central Queensland University (CQU) has been released: ‘Effects of wagering marketing on vulnerable adults’ examines the marketing implemented by betting operators, particularly the rise of direct marketing via digital channels, exploring what makes young men vulnerable to inducements. Countering the normalisation of sports betting among young men is a priority for the Foundation and a major take-out from this research is the importance of reading the ‘fine print’ of any offers made by wagering companies, rather than relying on catchy subject lines and short-form promotional blurbs.
We also released Mobile EGMs Apps – The perfect substitute or the perfect storm? — funded by the Foundation, the CQU study explores the rise of free‐to‐play gambling‐themed apps examining whether children who play online games with gambling themes are more likely to incur gambling harm later in life. Research of this nature is valuable to the work we do, particularly in relation to normalisation, as it allows us to measure what effect the changing gambling environment is having on young people.
A ‘lived experience advisory committee’ is set to be established later this year with expressions of interest currently being assessed. The Foundation is seeking people with first-hand experience of gambling harm, and their family and friends, to offer advice about strategy, service and program delivery as well as research. We recognise the importance of keeping people with lived experience at the core of our work and see real value in bringing to life the contributions made by people generous enough to draw on their personal experiences.
Next month, our awareness campaign 'The talk' will return to air. The campaign encourages parents to have a conversation with their teenage children about the risks and potential harms of gambling. Poking fun at the sometimes 'awkward' subjects parents tackle with their children the campaign seeks to put gambling on the map in terms of issues that young people need guidance and education to navigate. Talking, conversing, listening – these all tie in with Gambling Harm Awareness Week, which will be held in Victoria Monday. 8—Sunday. 14 October. This year's theme is TALK.SHARE.SUPPORT. Our aim for the week is to encourage community discussion about how gambling harm occurs, why it matters and how to seek help.
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