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Increasing service provision to the most vulnerable gamblers

Since the beginning of 2017 we have been focusing on improving the delivery of gambling therapy to a more complex cohort of problem gamblers, namely, those with complex or co morbid mental health issues. One of our future goals is to provide a more seamless referral process state wide with improved mental health service networking.

A Problem Gambling Treatment Project in a Prison Setting

In November 2014 the Statewide Gambling Therapy Service commenced a project funded by the Department for Correctional Services to deliver and evaluate an evidence-based problem gambling treatment program in a prison setting. Prisoners across four prisons in South Australian prisons participated. The project had two aims:

  • To deliver Cognitive Behavioural Therapy treatment to a range of prisoners across South Australia
  • To investigate the prevalence of problem gambling among a prison population.

Outcomes showed that the program was successful in reducing gambling urges, improving psychological well-being and increasing self-efficacy.

A survey was conducted to investigate lifetime prevalence of problem gambling among a group of 105 incarcerated offenders. Data revealed lifetime prevalence’s of 52%, in addition 1 in 5 males reported that their current imprisonment was due to a gambling problem.

The Gambling Intervention Program

For a number of years there have been diversion courts available for offenders with drug and alcohol and mental health related problems. Over the last two years SGTS has been working closely with the South Australian Magistrates Court to develop a diversion program for offenders whose gambling has been acknowledged as a factor in their offending. The plan was to ensure individuals before the courts for offending related to a gambling problem, received the type of help they required to reduce the likelihood of re offending. The STGS was chosen to lead this treatment because of its reputation and strict adherence to evidence based therapy. One of the criteria to be eligible for the program is that there must be a nexus between problem gambling and the offending. For more information on this program follow the link below where magistrate Brett Dixon discussed the program and The SA Office for Problem Gambling describes it as a ‘stunning success’.

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/lawreport/sa-gamblers-intervention-program/8715960

Submission to the Senate Standing Committees

on Environment and Communications on the Communications Legislation Amendment (Online Content Services and Other Measures) Bill 2017

In 2017 the SGTS worked with the Flinders Centre for Gambling Research (FCGR) to provide feedback on the proposed Communications Legislation Amendment (Online Content Services and Other Measures) Bill 2017. We support the government’s intent to place restrictions around gambling advertising on online sports coverage. Given the integration of sport into Australian culture and the increasing availability of accessing sporting events online, there is concern Australian children face higher exposure to the advertising of gambling related products. There is evidence that the messages children derive from gambling advertisements include the idea that winning is easy, the chance of winning is high, and that gambling is an easy way to become wealthy. Furthermore, such advertisements have been reported to prompt them to gamble. The opportunity to provide feedback on this bill was welcomed.

Chase your dreams, not your losses
The Statewide Gambling Therapy Service is provided by the Southern Adelaide Local Network, and is funded through SA Health
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