SHOALHAVEN clubs and pubs are combining to combat problem gambling, forming what is believed to be a state first gaming accord.
Similar to the Shoalhaven Liquor Accord, which has been in operation for the past decade, the Shoalhaven Gaming Accord, although in its early stages, will bring together all Shoalhaven businesses with gaming machines.
Chairperson of the Shoalhaven Liquor Accord, Garry Wilbraham, said moves were made to establish the new organisation at its recent meeting, which was attended by 70 people.
“Licensees have decided to form the Shoalhaven Gaming Accord,” said Mr Wilbraham, who will also head up the new gaming accord.
“This group will work towards helping establishments with poker machines in assisting people with problem gambling issues, just the same as the Liquor Accord is helping the community with alcohol problems.
“It offers a network within clubs and pubs with gaming machines to get together.
“We have gaming machines but we want to show that we are also responsible and as an organisation we are also looking after people with problems with gambling.
“Obviously there are people in the Shoalhaven who have problems with gambling and we have set up this accord to try and address it and give pubs and clubs the tools to try to combat it.”
Mr Wilbraham said the gaming accord would have external partners.
“We will look to and be guided by groups such as Mission and Club Safe, who help people with gambling problems, and the strong Shoalhaven Gambling Impact Society,” he said.
“We will enlist gaming counselling agencies to assist us with what they are seeing.
“We will get advice from these external partners.
“They are the other side of the equation like the police, RMS and Shoalhaven City Council who are in the liquor accord.”
He said the accord would also look at establishing group training instead of individual clubs undertaking their own, compliance with signage issues and also assist in self exclusions, where problem gamblers can exclude themselves from individual clubs.
“We have just introduced online self-exclusion,” he said.
But Mr Wilbraham did not expect massive change immediately.
“It will be a slow moving machine, progressing and fixing things over time, similar to what the liquor accord has done over the past 10 years,” he said.
“We might not have solved the problem but we have certainly taken some peaks and troughs out of alcohol issues.”