Document marks new era in assisting problem gamblers

Alex Ferguson, executive director Lifeline central west and the Member for Dubbo Troy Grant, holding the ClubSafe Responsible Gambling Management Manual, and John Miller, Dubbo RSL Memorial Club president with the Memorandum of Understanding.	Photo: LOUISE DONGES

Alex Ferguson, executive director Lifeline central west and the Member for Dubbo Troy Grant, holding the ClubSafe Responsible Gambling Management Manual, and John Miller, Dubbo RSL Memorial Club president with the Memorandum of Understanding. Photo: LOUISE DONGES

MINISTER for Hospitality, Gaming and Racing Troy Grant officially launched a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between local clubs and counselling services at the Dubbo RSL Memorial Club yesterday.

The Minister said he believed the MoU would make it easier for clubs and counsellors to work together more efficiently.

"We believe that this MoU will help build stronger relationships between counsellors and local clubs that, as a result, will benefit the local community in the long term," Mr Grant said.

Lifeline Executive director Alex Ferguson said he was delighted to be signing the MoU, which allows clubs to utilise counselling services offered by the organisation.

"It's a great chance for us to be able to assist with the government's campaign to improve problematic gambling support," Mr Ferguson said.

ClubsNSW CEO Anthony Ball said having the Minister launch the MoU showed the Baird government understood how serious the club industry took responsible gambling and harm-minimisation.

"Local counselling services do great work in their communities and now, as a result of this MoU, they can work more closely together with local clubs to identify and support those people who are in need of help," Mr Ball said.

Mr Grant took the opportunity at the meeting to also introduce the updated ClubSAFE Responsible Gambling management manual, a promotional guide for responsible gambling management to clubs across NSW.

"It's all about making the patrons more aware of the available services," Mr Grant said.

"We're addressing the problematic area of gambling."

"The government works closely with pubs and clubs to help fund support services," Mr Grant said.

"ClubsNSW, from my observation, have always been on the front foot to reduce that harm and promote responsible gambling. I applaud them for their efforts."

Mr Grant said he believed gaming in licensed venues was "as safe as it's ever been".

"The supervision is extremely controlled."

However, Mr Grant said the greatest threat for gaming in the community was the uncontrolled access people had to online sports betting.

"People can quite easily pull out their phones or tablets and place a bet with the swipe of a finger," Mr Grant said.

Mr Grant said he would unveil ideas and initiatives to gain further control of the situation in the near future.

"This will be the greatest challenge I will face as Minister," he said.

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