Foundation CEO Louise Glanville, photo: Paul Jeffers
The concept of ‘diversity’, by its very definition, focuses on difference. Categories commonly used to differentiate people or groups from one another include age, gender, race, religion, culture, language, location, education, type of work and socio-economic circumstances.
While many people can gamble without harm, there are some groups that, based on specific characteristics, are at greater risk of harm than others. These include young men, Aboriginal people, certain culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities, older people, and those who live in non-metropolitan areas of the state.
Irrespective of difference, however, anyone can be affected by gambling harm. And while severity varies across a broad spectrum, harm generally occurs as financial loss, emotional and psychological distress, health issues, conflict in relationships, and work or study problems.
Stories of risk and resilience
The articles in this edition of Inside gambling offer a glimpse into the different challenges, experiences and responses of different groups affected by gambling harm.
Carolyn Crawford is a 64-year-old grandmother who stole $400,000 from her employer over seven years to fund her pokies activities. It was in prison that Carolyn gained perspective into why she gambled and sought assistance to recover. She notes that gambling can cause good people to do not so good things.
The Horn of Africa Communities Network is taking a proactive approach to preventing and reducing gambling harm in refugee communities. It has developed resources in several languages to assist people to understand the risks associated with gambling, overcome the stigma related to gambling harm, and seek advice and support if they need it.
Young Victorians, Aboriginal communities and culturally and linguistically diverse groups are the focus of five new projects receiving funding under the Foundation’s Prevention Grants for Regional and Rural Victoria program. Recently announced by the Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation, Marlene Kairouz, the grants are supporting a range of local organisations to work with their communities to prevent gambling harm in their regions.
The Foundation is proud to partner with Reclink Australia and in 2018 to sponsor the Reclink Community Cup, attended by a 10,000-strong crowd. Under the banner of ‘Everyday people’, the Community Cup celebrates participation in everyday activities like music and footy without the distraction or complication of gambling.
Gambling and sport don’t have to go together. And that’s what the Foundation’s Love the Game program is all about – encouraging people to revel in the moments that make sport great, appreciate the skills and talents of elite players, and enjoy friendly community competitions.
This year, we have added a new component to the Love the Game program to raise awareness among Victoria’s young Aboriginal people, in a culturally appropriate way, of the risks and harms associated with gambling.
It’s important we talk to young people about these matters, rather than allow the normalisation of sports and gambling through prolific advertising to go unchallenged.
Indeed, we as a community have an obligation to equip kids to make informed choices about gambling as they move into adulthood, which is a theme we will continue to champion throughout the dedicated AFL Victoria ‘Love the Game’-themed round during the weekend of 20–22 July.