The Economist published figures that ranked Australians as number one in gambling expenditure. Clubs Australia, the association representing the nation’s 4,000 licensed video poker (pokies) establishments has called on state and federal governments to develop and trial a national school-based gambling education program.
This is due to the fact that an average Australian loses US $1,300 to various forms of gambling over the course of a year, thrice the amount lost by an average gambler from UK.
This is Clubs Australia’s response to their submission to the parliamentary inquiry to prevention and treatment of problem gambling. Instead of just spreading this to pokies, Clubs Australia pushes for the gambling reform in all aspects of the industry which says that the major contributor of addiction to it is because of a “fundamental misunderstanding” on how gambling works.
”Disclosing information about how a product operates, the cost of play and dispelling common myths can promote informed choice and reduce the chances of problematic gambling behaviours,” it says.
”Clubs Australia advocates for the development and trialling of a nationally consistent school-based gambling education and awareness program that is integrated into the existing school curricula on personal health and financial literacy.”
Due to the easy access of online gambling, youth are more exposed to it, and therefore prone to becoming a problem gambler, according to Clubs Australia.
In 2010, the productivity commission suggested to the government that they should emphasize campaigns that would dispel myths about gambling and educate the people about gambling safely and that they should also show the potential consequences of being an addict. Not only that, those who are aware of problem gambling should try to seek help or interventions from family and friends. Clubs Australia said that schools can take part in this.
Australian Education Union federal president Angelo Gavrielatos said there was an argument for exposing appropriately aged children to social issues to raise awareness.
”However, what we must always balance is what is more appropriate; the school setting as opposed to the home setting,” Gavrielatos said.
According to Parents Victoria, a group representing parents with children in state schools, the schools are already doing so many thing things.
Gail McHardy, executive officer said that there was a need to make sure health and financial literacy education did reflect current social issues but relevance of content, age appropriateness and consultation with school communities was essential.
As opposed to the Pokies campaign, Senator Nick Xenophon said, “Clubs Australia is trying to weasel out of the harm they cause by pretending a class on gambling will fix thing. This is a pathetic attempt to deflect what needs to be done, which is to make these dangerous machines safer.”
The president of the Victorian Association of State Secondary Principal Frank Sal said that the pokies shouldn’t burden schools as their curriculum is already crowded.
Sal said, ‘‘Schools do have a responsibility in regards to raising awareness of social issues but they are not the panacea for social woes.”
Those who do not see this campaign necessary also said that the social costs of problem gambling are lower than for other public health issues such as obesity, smoking, alcohol and drug abuse.