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Gambling Issues Funding

Monday 24th of November 2003

It's a sure bet gambling is a problem that's rising.
Stephanie van Eyk, Northern Daily Leader


Thousands of people in the New England and north-west have a gambling problem, but help is just a phone call away.


The Anglican Counselling Service received $235 701 funding over three years for programmes to treat problem gamblers and help their families, while Centacare New England North West was allocated $215 133.


The service's executive director, Reverend Brian Kirk, said about two per cent of the population had a gambling problem.


"In the New England and north-west that's about 3 500 people," he said.


"We are aiming to provide counselling and education services for problem gamblers and their families. When they come to us for advice and help they often don't have the money to pay for counselling."


Gambling becomes a problem when family relationships start to break down, Reverend Kirk said. Other signs of problem gambling are severe financial difficulties or theft, for example stealing form the workplace.


"It can also result in domestic violence and drug and alcohol abuse," he said.


The funding will allow the Anglican Counselling Service to provide more free help for problem gamblers and broaden the range of services available, especially for the families of problem gamblers.


Reverend Kirk said the success of the counselling and education often depends on the individual and how much they want to stop gambling as "often they can be very deceitful."


"We have to look at what's causing the problem in the first place - whether it's emotional or a wrong thinking pattern," he said. "Gambling is becoming a really big issue."


Children can also have gambling problems, according to Reverend Kirk, with one report showing that children as young as eight years have started gambling.


The Anglican Counselling Service has its head office in Tamworth and other offices in Gunnedah, Narrabri, Moree, North Star, Inverell, Glen Innes, Armidale, Uralla and Walcha.


For more information call the Anglican Counselling Service on 6765 2527.


For More Information Contact:

Anglican Counselling Service (Diocese of Armidale)
PO Box 3052 Tamworth 2340
Tel: (02) 6762 4380
FAX: (02) 6762 5740
Internet: acsdarm@acsdarm.org.au


Authorised: Rev Brian Kirk, Executive Director

24 November, 2003

Phone contact: (02) 6762 4380

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