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GambleAware to offer new peer support service in NSW

| By Robert Fletcher
The New South Wales (NSW) Office of Responsible Gambling has announced the launch of a new peer support service from GambleAware to help players experiencing gambling harm.
Star Sydney CEO

NSW players will be able to consult with those with lived experience of gambling harm from next year. This will be added to a suite of support already available in the Australian state that includes counselling, online chat and education.

The new service aims to build the capacity of NSW GambleAware providers to deliver safe and effective peer support services. It will also seek to both recruit and retain peer support workers in local areas.

Key functions of the new offering include providing expert input to support the recruitment and retention of peer support workers. It will also look to develop peer support resources for GambleAware providers.

In addition, the service will facilitate ongoing professional development and training for peer support workers. This, the Office of Responsible Gambling said, will help to ensure they get the support and development opportunities they need to perform their roles effectively.

Office of Responsible Gambling director Alison Parkinson said peer support is a non-clinical option for people seeking help to address gambling harm. She added it is a key component of the stepped care approach of the GambleAware treatment and support model.

“This service will provide an additional option for people experiencing gambling harm,” Parkinson said. “It makes sure people across NSW can access support that meets their needs and circumstances.

“The service will work with GambleAware providers so they are ready and able to offer peer support from early 2024. This will include helping them to recruit and train peer support workers.”

Ongoing commitment to reducing gambling harm in NSW

The new service comes after the NSW government in September also announced a funding injection to reduce gambling harm. A further AU$100.0m (£52.5m/€60.2m/US$65.7m) is being made available to support a range of harm minimisation initiatives and projects.

Some $10.0m will go to the Responsible Gambling Fund in 2023-24. This will be used to help support GambleAware support services, awareness and education campaigns and initiatives and research.

A further $6.4m will be used to improve self-exclusion schemes such as introducing third-party exclusions in pubs and clubs. Another $3.4m is being used to support an independent panel set up to oversee gambling reform in NSW. 

In addition, $21.7m will be spent each year, for three years beginning from 2024-25, to fund other gambling harm minimisation initiatives and reforms. 

The funds have been redirected from a $100.0m fine imposed on Star Entertainment Group last year.

Star was declared unsuitable to hold a casino licence in NSW after Adam Bell SC’s report outlined anti-money laundering and social responsibility failings at Star Sydney stretching back for years. This ultimately led to the fine being issued by the NSW Independent Casino Commission.

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