Edition #9: Gambling in our community

Three men at a barbeque in a suburban backyard - one man in the foreground giving the thumbs-up, while the two others chat in the background, one holding a football
Three men at a barbeque in a suburban backyard - one man in the foreground giving the thumbs-up, while the two others chat in the background, one holding a football
Image from the TV commercial for 'Keep it in check. Keep it well played.' photo: Jay Hynes

Protecting your wallet and your welfare – that's well played

You have no doubt heard the phrase ‘responsible gambling’, but what does it actually mean for someone who gambles? People gamble on different things and in different ways, so it’s understandable ‘responsible gambling’ will mean different things to different people.

There can be times when someone gambles in a risky way, but it can be hard to recognise those moments early on. Maybe it only happens every now or then, or maybe it’s difficult to pinpoint gambling as the cause of any negative consequences. Until it intensifies, it’s not surprising cues are dismissed.

Raising public awareness about gambling harm is never going to be a one-size-fits-all operation. It takes a wide range of approaches, tailored specifically for different sections of the community, to raise the profile of such a complex issue.

It’s understandable ‘responsible gambling’ will mean different things to different people.

Launched during Responsible Gambling Awareness Week, the foundation's latest TV commercial – Keep it in check. Keep it well played. – takes a lighter approach for a simple reason: people are far more engaged when you focus on the positives, than dwell on the negatives. This campaign celebrates taking a balanced approach to gambling. And as Spring Racing Carnival – a peak betting period for Victorians – heats up, it makes perfect sense.

You catch more flies with honey

The campaign acknowledges and celebrates the strategies many people already have in place to avoid harm from gambling, such as setting budgets and taking breaks. As well as featuring upbeat videos and positive messages, it provides tools and resources to help people reflect on their gambling behaviour, plus tips to help them stay in check. The message is less about what not to do and more about what you can do.

One of the new tools offered by the campaign is a gambling calculator. The calculator gives people an understanding of how gambling might affect their life over the course of a year. By answering a few short questions, users can compare their gambling behaviour with that of the average Australian. The calculator also computes the amount of time and money (including percentage of annual income) spent on gambling. The gambling calculator is a tool people can access on mobile devices, quickly and easily, to get an accurate picture of how their gambling measures up and to identify any potential issues.

The message is less about what not to do and more about what you can do.

There is no silver bullet to addressing gambling harm. We will continue to develop customised awareness campaigns so they reach and resonate with their specific audiences. The lighter approach of this current campaign works in harmony with others, such as our harm from gambling starts earlier than you think campaign, which helps people to better understand the earlier signs of harm from gambling.

Gambling harm operates on a spectrum, and it is our job to reach everyone on that spectrum – from creating a better understanding of the range of gambling harm people can experience, to encouraging self-reflection and building awareness of the practical things people can do to prevent or reduce harm they may be experiencing. One group is no more important than the other, but they certainly require different messages.

For those who choose to gamble, we hope this campaign helps to keep it in check, to keep it #WellPlayed.

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