By James Wells
A free online service introduced by ClubsNSW will allow problem gamblers the opportunity to impose a legally-binding ban on themselves visiting multiple clubs in the state.
The website, which is the first of its kind in Australia, provides a legally-binding self-exclusion document via the internet that can impose the ban from multiple clubs simultaneously eliminating the previously time consuming process of visiting each venue individually.
The self-exclusion options include: banning themselves from a club; banning themselves from any area of the club with poker machines, banning themselves from any area of the club where gambling takes place such as poker machines, Keno and ClubTAB.
Development of the multi-venue self exclusion system will be expanded across the State over the next 12 months and comes after 18 months development by ClubsNSW including a six month trial in 51 clubs in Broken Hill and the Central Coast.
ClubsNSW CEO Anthony Ball said self exclusion in combination with counselling is the best way of helping problem gamblers beat their addiction.
“During the six month trial 136 problem gamblers chose to ban themselves from a combined 569 clubs in Broken Hill and the Central Coast. Under the previous system, it could have taken weeks or even months for a problem gambler to visit each of those clubs and inform the staff they wanted to be banned from gambling,” Ball said.
“Self exclusion was introduced by clubs and hotels in NSW in 2000, with an estimated 3,000 people opting to ban themselves from a club or hotel each year. Clubs and hotels are subject to significant financial penalties if they knowingly allow a person to breach their self-exclusion.
“For some people, the time, effort and emotional investment needed to make multiple visits to a club is overwhelming or just too difficult to go through with.
“This scheme eliminates those barriers, and also provides an option for problem gamblers to avoid gaming venues altogether by completing the procedure at the office of a certified gambling counsellor.
“Previous studies have indicated that 90 per cent of problem gamblers would prefer to self-ban from multiple venues in one go. This technology allows that to occur as well providing them with the choice of deciding if they want the counsellor to notify nominated family of their gambling addiction,” Ball said.