Gambling counsellor calls on residents to seek help

A LOCAL gambling counsellor has called on problem gamblers trapped by the increasing ease of online and mobile betting to seek help.

Mission Australia Riverina gambling counsellor Julie McDermott said advancements in electronic gaming made it impossible to tell if your workmate was "googling roses or placing a bet".

Mission Australia Riverina gambling counsellor Julie McDermott said advancements in electronic gaming made it impossible to tell if your workmate was "googling roses or placing a bet".

Mission Australia Riverina gambling counsellor Julie McDermott said advancements in electronic gaming made it impossible to tell if your workmate was "googling roses or placing a bet".

Despite $32 million turnover generated by Griffith pubs and clubs in the year ending August 31, 2013, Mrs McDermott said online gambling was just equally alarming.

"The trouble with online and mobile gambling is you don't have to leave your living room, you can be very discreet about it and gambling tends to be secretive as it is," Mrs McDermott said.

"Poker machines are still causing heartache for a lot of people in our community but no one form is any more dominant than the others.

"In today's society we are all on the mobile phone and there aren't obvious signs of gambling addiction like there are with drugs and alcohol."

As part of responsible gambling awareness week focusing on the workplace, Mrs McDermott pleaded with locals to keep an eye out for their colleagues.

"An addiction like gambling affects all aspects of your life because you become extremely focused on it while every other aspect of your life gets less and less attention," she said.

"Absenteeism, poor performance and job loss are the serious workplace consequences of the addiction.

"With problem gambling, you may not know about it until the person seeks assistance or raises it as an issue, so it's important to be aware."

Mission Australia runs outreach programs through the Alma Bamblett community centre and Griffith Neighbourhood House, as well as a free phone service.

Do you need help with problem gambling?

Contact Mission Australia's Riverina Gambling Help Service Monday to Friday during business hours 6932 7500

Julie McDermott - 0408 485 207

Marg Davis - 0477 399 259

Gambling Help (24 hours) - 1800 858 858

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