By Clyde Mooney
Following a successful six month trial in Broken Hill and the Central Coast, the self-exclusion process in clubs and hotels introduced in 2000 has expanded to provide greater benefits for problem gamblers.
Developed in conjunction with problem gambling counsellors and gambling addicts who had self-excluded, the state-of-the-art technology soon to be introduced into Sydney clubs allows problem gamblers to ban themselves from multiple venues at once.
Speaking to TheShout, Dr Alex Blaszczynski, Professor of Clinical Psychology at Sydney University’s gambling treatment clinic, said the technology is key to the issue of developing strategies to assist people being in control of their own behaviour.
“[Self-exclusion] can help people gain some degree of control, and is in some ways a gateway to treatment that helps them stay in control long-term.”
Clubs NSW CEO Anthony Ball said the self-exclusion program can also be initiated from a counsellor’s office and stands to remove a lot of stress for gamblers trying to get control of their problem.
“In fact, research shows that 90 per cent of people who have self-banned wanted to be able to ban themselves from multiple venues in one go, and 70 per cent wanted the option to self-exclude in the company of a qualified counsellor.
“It also gives people the option of having their counsellor notify nominated family members of their decision to self-exclude,” said Ball.
Dr Blaszczynski reinforces this, stressing the importance of guidance by a qualified party.
“A problem can arise when a person has lost more than they expected and is in an emotional state. They may undertake self-exclusion but later regret doing so," he said.
"The opportunity to discuss options and implications, and fully understand what they are doing and the obligations of the individual versus the venue, reduces the number of people likely to breach the self-exclusion."
More than 500 people, constituting counsellors and the staff from almost 430 clubs, will attend training for the roll-out of the system over the coming three weeks.
"We believe that with the support of clubs and counsellors, this new one-stop-shop option has the potential to help thousands of problem gamblers every year," said Ball.