The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists is concerned about the growing promotion of gambling in Australian sporting events such as cricket, and the potential adverse impact this will have on the mental health of the community.‘Gambling is often problematic for mental health. The normalising of gambling for a whole generation of young people is unacceptable, particularly the association of gambling with sport which is done widely via gambling advertising during sports events such as Test and 20/20 cricket” said Dr Maria Tomasic, President of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists.
‘Cricket has a proud history as a sport epitomising fairness and respect. Gambling has at times threatened to damage the integrity of that sport and the frequent commentary and all pervasive gambling advertising throughout the programming risks seriously damaging the spirit of the game.
‘The Australian government has committed to the improvement of the mental health of the Australian community as a priority, and any commitment to improving mental health and preventing mental illness should address problem gambling and the advertising of gambling.’
Dr Clive Allcock, a specialist in gambling addiction and member of RANZCP’s Section of Addiction Psychiatry says ‘Gambling advertising during sports telecasts is a real concern. Gambling advertising has an impact on vulnerable groups and problematic gamblers, and has become increasingly prevalent on television. The number and timing of advertisements should be limited and should advise the viewer of the issue of problematic gambling and of support organisations. Reduced promotion minimises the suggestion of gambling to vulnerable people and reduces the pressure to bet in order to recoup a loss.’
‘People with mental illness are already marginalised in the community, and are particularly vulnerable to gambling leading to even greater social problems. Excessive gambling can cause personal, social and economic harm to the gambler, their family, community, workplace and greater society’ said Dr Tomasic
‘We call on the government to recommit to gambling reform in order to limit its adverse mental health impact’ says Dr Tomasic.
The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists is also calling for:
- promotion of information about gambling odds for all avenues of gamblingg
- gamblers to be warned at all venues of possible harm due to excessive gambling
- gamblers to be advised where help may be obtained
- the availability of more counselling services and other help
- research into gambling treatments and outcomes
(Source: The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists)