Recent studies on the effectiveness of Exclusion Orders under the Gambling Act shows that they are working well in Clubs.
In one study 86% of the Clubs surveyed and 90% of the excluded gamblers agreed that the ban is effective and more importantly 59% of the banned gamblers were continuing to participate in other activities within the club.
One of the many differences between clubs and other gambling venues is that we have a wide range of non-gambling activities available and so they can retain their social contacts without going through further unwanted changes in their life.
“One of the banned persons who was only an occasional visitor at the time of initiating the ban has now joined the club and participates in other activities.” says Clubs NZ Chief Executive Jonathan Gee.
Another recent study showed that some venues issue trespass notices in conjunction with the exclusion order but we do not support that approach. Any danger that they pose is to their family and themselves so why should we exclude them from social contact because of that? The current TV campaign on mental health issues stresses the importance of affected people being able to retain links with their community and not be made to feel unwelcome or outcast just because they had a recent problem in one area of their life. Problem Gambling is no different, it can be controlled.
The majority of the gamblers who responded to the survey reported that either they are not gambling at all, or now have control of their gambling. That is an important part of this study. What is the point in having an exclusion system if it is not resolving the underlying issue and enabling people to take back control of their life?
We work closely with the Problem Gambling Foundation and they receive a copy of each exclusion order when it is issued. Unless the gambler specifically declines it on the form they are contacted by a trained counsellor to assist them to work through the problems. That is beyond the requirements of the Act but we are pleased to be able to take the extra steps to help our members get control and it seems to be working for us.
John Stansfield CEO of the Problem Gambling Foundation confirmed the importance of this work. “Our relationship enables us to get a good view of what is happening in Clubs and its clear that they are getting a better result than other venues. We assisted with the design and implementation of their Harm Prevention and Minimisation programme and the training is constantly evolving as we learn more about the problems. You have to evaluate what you are doing and in this case it has been demonstrated that exclusions can work if properly implemented.