Canberra is the only jurisdiction in Australia where gaming is still largely operated and managed through community clubs – a privilege that clubs acknowledge carries with it responsibilities.
Most of the services that clubs provide are supported by their ability to offer gaming to their patrons.
Clubs play a leadership role, anticipate change and take pro-active measures to provide their gaming services in a professional and responsible manner in keeping with community expectations.
The vast majority of people who play poker machines enjoy their experience, however there are a small number of people for whom gambling is no longer enjoyable.
The latest report from the Australian National University Centre for Gambling Research into problem gambling confirms the ACT as the jurisdiction with the lowest prevalence of problem gambling. The ACT is also the only jurisdiction where poker machines are not permitted in casinos and this could be a very important difference in terms of problem gambling rates because the ACT has the lowest in the nation at 0.4% (0.5% in 2009). This compares to 0.8% in New South Wales, 0.5% in Queensland, 0.6% in South Australia and 1.0% in Victoria – all of whom operate casinos.
In the ACT a range of measures are in place to help prevent people becoming problem gamblers and to assist those for whom gambling has become a problem.
Club staff are trained in the Responsible Conduct of Gambling and there are Gambling Contact Officers in each club venue. There is also information displayed in club venues to ensure patrons who are experiencing a problem with gambling know where to go to seek help.
Gambling Contact Officers are able to spend time with a patron and work out how the venue can provide support to them and their families – ideally this is done through the self exclusion program and providing referrals to a variety of support services including the ACT Gambling Counselling Support Service.
All clubs with gaming machines in the ACT also contribute 0.75% of Net Gaming Machine Revenue (NGMR) to the ACT Problem Gambling Fund.
Clubs believe there should be a multi-faceted approach to problem gambling – recognising that it is a human problem requiring a human solution.
ClubsACT supports sensible, effective and evidence-based approaches to dealing with problem gambling.