Easing of COVID-19 restrictions: Gambling harm prevention information for gambling licensees
COVID-19 has had substantial and ongoing impacts for all of us including licensed gambling venues, their staff, their members and customers too. We are all looking forward to the easing of restrictions and as that occurs, we need to remain focused on safety and wellbeing for all of us.
As your members and customers return to your venues you will need to take measures to ensure their safety and the safety of your staff. Many of your patrons may have been and may still be under considerable emotional and perhaps financial stress. They may be more vulnerable to gambling harm. This makes the role of your staff in providing a supportive and safe environment for your patrons more important than ever. It may also influence how and which facilities you promote when re-opening.
Here are some ideas for how you and your staff can prevent and reduce gambling harm in your venue.
Look for signs of gambling harm
We’ve all been doing things differently since COVID-19. Perhaps your patrons are gambling differently or more often?
RECOGNISE - Look for and recognise the signs of gambling harm
REPORT - Make sure behaviours of concern are recorded in the Gambling Incident Register
RESPOND - Weigh up all the information you have about this patron and decide on an appropriate response
RECORD - Enter your response and the outcome in the Gambling Incident Register
The Gambling Incident Register is there to help you keep track of gambling harm in your venue. By knowing and looking for the signs of gambling harm, and being responsive when you see them, you can take appropriate steps to assist your patrons.
Support your Gambling Contact Officers
GCOs are out on the floor with your patrons. They are well placed to recognise and respond to signs of gambling harm, to start a conversation and to provide information to patrons.
Under the ACT’s Gambling and Racing Control (Code of Practice) Regulation (2002), GCOs must complete an approved GCO training session each year. Delivery of face to face training sessions has recommenced. To find out more information about training contact AccessCanberraGamblingHarmPrevention@act.gov.au or call 02 6207 0359 (option 3).
Know the support and information options
People experience gambling harm in different ways - what works well for one person may not be the best option for someone else. It’s important to know about the range of options and resources that are available to assist gamblers, their families and friends, and your venue in preventing and reducing gambling harm.
Starting a conversation, listening to your customers and knowing the options means your patrons can get information that meet their needs. Does your venue have current information about help easily accessible at your venue? Information is available electronically at the Dont Play it Down Venue Support Kit on our website. Printed materials are also available by contacting AccessCanberraGamblingHarmPrevention@act.gov.au.
It is also possible that people have used the time that gambling venues have been closed to reflect on their gambling and decided not to restart their gambling. They may ask for your help. Self- exclusion is one option to continue their break from gambling which they may wish to consider. Ensure your staff have ready access to information and exclusion forms. ACT Exclusion Scheme forms and information.
Since venues closed, there have been only a small number of new self-exclusions, however many will have expired. Please ensure your in-house records are updated and if necessary, remind staff of re-admission processes you may have for people returning after a break from gambling. A helpful guide for a conversation on re-entry following the expiry or revocation of a self-exclusion from gambling is available here and a guide to assist with real conversations is available here.
National Gambling Helpline 1800 858 858
Financial Counselling Helpline 1800 007 007
Review your harm prevention processes
As plans and preparations are made for venues to re-open, it is a good time for harm prevention procedures within venues to be reviewed to ensure you are best able to help protect your patrons from harm.
The gambling harm venue support kit - guide for management has some more ideas to support you in preventing gambling harm at your venue.
You may like to download harm prevention materials for use in your venue.
The Gambling and Harm Prevention team at Access Canberra are here to help. If we can be of any assistance with gambling harm prevention at your venue, please contact the team AccessCanberraGamblingHarmPrevention@act.gov.au.