CEO, Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation
This year, the Foundation’s priorities centre on gambling harm, prevention and partnership. Gambling and harm can be bedfellows, and the Foundation’s focus on harm demonstrates our public health approach to gambling in the community, realised through a three-tiered model of prevention, early intervention and support. To help us achieve our vision of a Victoria free from gambling-related harm, the Foundation works collaboratively with partner organisations, including community agencies, gambling research bodies, elite and local sporting clubs and likeminded health promotion institutes. Tackling gambling harm requires a collaborative approach and we place great importance on continuing to build strategic partnerships in 2018.
The Foundation’s research program underpins our work with Gambler's Help services and informs our prevention programs, social marketing campaigns and policy advisory role. In the coming months we will release the 2018–22 research agenda, developed in consultation with more than 200 Foundation stakeholders, including people with lived experience of gambling harm, government departments, local government, industry representatives as well as the broader research community. The agenda will inform research topics for grants as well as key themes to be empirically explored in an effort to consolidate our understanding of gambling harm.
Complementing the research agenda, we will shortly announce the successful tender for the Victorian Population Gambling and Health Survey – a major piece of work for the Foundation as we seek to update our knowledge of gambling in Victoria. Our most recent population study, published in 2014, reported associations between specific gambling products, problem gambling and gambling harm.
With sports betting and gambling advertising reaching saturation point, government is responding to community concern. The Commonwealth's proposed legislation is a step in the right direction and echoes a number of the recommendations in our submission relating to the reform of advertising and the promotion of gambling during live sports, particularly in the context of children and young people.
This year, the Foundation will run several new campaigns, including one focused on the 'normalisation' of gambling – the perception held, primarily by school aged children and young adults – that gambling is a normal and culturally accepted by-product of sport/gaming. Each of our campaigns will be promoted through traditional and digital media and showcased on our website, which is in the throes of a digital redevelopment. The continued digitisation of gambling has not gone unnoticed. As such, we wish to ensure our support services are equally as accessible. Between 2015 and 2017 the Foundation charted a 93 per cent increase in Gambling Help Online visits. Responding to these figures, our focus is to achieve an ‘always on’ approach to support, catering to help seekers in a more meaningful way through an amplified online presence.
Prevention remains a priority for the Foundation in 2018, with an announcement detailing the recipients of $200,000 worth of prevention grant funding for culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities imminent. In line with our commitment to outer-metropolitan areas, including greater support and increased access to services, we are eager to make announcements in relation to rural and regional Victoria soon. To keep track of our progress, please subscribe to our mailing list.