Gambling Harm

Gambling Harm in Ballarat

As part of our commitment to support the health and wellbeing of Ballarat residents, we aim to reduce the harmful impact of gambling in our community. 

Gambling has the potential to generate negative social and economic impacts for the player, their family and friends, and the wider community.

Gambling-related harm can include financial loss, relationship breakdown, intimate partner violence, increased prevalence of anxiety and depression, emotional or psychological distress, issues with work or study, criminal activity, reduced health and wellbeing, and suicide. 

Whilst there are many different forms of gambling, a significant source of financial loss and harm in Ballarat comes from Electronic Gaming Machines (EGMs), also known as poker machines (“pokies”). It is also the form of gambling over which Council has the greatest influence through its statutory roles and decision-making processes. Whilst the state-controlled nature of gambling regulation leaves Council with minimal regulatory influence, the City of Ballarat is committed to reducing the harms that result from gambling where possible.

In 2018/19, $57,540,687 was lost to EGMs in Ballarat alone. With closures impacting gaming venues due to COVID-19, EGM expenditure was reduced to $43,713,216 in 2019/20 and $37,189,238 in the 2020/21 period.  

Sports betting and internet gambling are also fast-growing, with participation in these forms of gambling increasing rapidly each year. The advertising and normalisation of sports betting and online gambling- and the community impacts from this- are of significant concern.

Gambling Harm Minimisation Policy

The City of Ballarat’s Gambling Harm Minimisation Policy 2022 identifies Council’s position, commitment, responsibilities and approach to minimising gambling-related harm in Ballarat.

Download our Minimising Gambling Harm Position Statement.

Advocacy

We have a commitment to advocacy measures, particularly regarding the systems and laws that control gambling in Victoria, transferring greater control to local government, and advocating for a reduction to the EGM cap in Ballarat.

EGM caps are legal limits on how many gaming machine entitlements are available within specific areas of Victoria, with Ballarat’s cap currently at 663 EGMs. 

The City of Ballarat is a supporter of the Alliance for Gambling Reform and is a partner of the All-In Gambling Project. The All-In Project, led by Ballarat Community Health, is a preventive health initiative designed to support Ballarat organisations in implementing actions to reduce the risk of gambling harm in the community.

more information

  • The number of EGMs and monthly net EGM expenditure across Ballarat can be found here: https://apps.vcglr.vic.gov.au/CA2570C30016EEF3/pages/map_ballarat  
  •  For more information on gambling, visit the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation: https://responsiblegambling.vic.gov.au/ 

  • The Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC), formerly the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR), has oversight of all gambling and gaming activities within Victoria – from pokies through to the casino. For more information, visit https://www.vcglr.vic.gov.au/ 

  • School sessions run by Cafs in Ballarat: https://cafs.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/VRGF_SchoolEdProgram_DL-School-Brochure_AUG21.pdf   

  • Community Engagement: For enquiries relating to community-based work in Ballarat, please contact John Bradshaw (Gamblers Help Community Engagement Officer) at Cafs (john.bradshaw@cafs.org.au). Community engagement includes the delivery of activities aimed at addressing the prevention of gambling harm, including the take-up of Gambler’s Help services, at the local level. This can include attending community events and providing education to workplaces, community groups, schools and other organisations. 

Where to get help

Gambling is a sensitive topic for many people. If you or someone you know is seeking additional support regarding gambling, please contact one of the services listed below:   

  • Child and Family Services Ballarat- providers of Gambler’s Help services in Ballarat.  
    Address: 115 Lydiard Street North, Ballarat 
    Phone: (03) 5337 3333.    

Website: cafs.org.au/gamblers-help/  

  •  Gambler’s Help- assists those with gambling problems- or family and friends affected by someone else’s gambling- with free and confidential advice, including therapeutic and financial counselling, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  

  • Phone: 1800 858 858.  

  • Website: gamblershelp.com.au    

  • Lifeline: Lifeline provides free professional and confidential telephone counselling, support and information services.  

  • Call 13 11 14.   

  • Gamblers Anonymous: support group for people with a gambling problem.  

  • Phone: (03) 9696 6108