Gambling no laughing matter

A roadshow with comedian Kevin Kropinyeri is getting underway today to tackle the challenge of gambling harm in Mallee communities

Stand-up comedian Kevin Kropinyeri is throwing his support behind a series of responsible gambling forums being held across the Mallee from today.
Known for his quick wit and wry observations, this deadly comedian is partnering with Mallee District Aboriginal Service (MDAS) to encourage people in Mildura, Robinvale and Swan Hill to think about how gambling is affecting their communities.
“Tackling problem gambling is something I genuinely believe in because I have seen first-hand how it affects families and children,” Kevin said.
“I don’t gamble but I’ve seen what problems gambling can do, so I’ll take any chance to use my profile in the Aboriginal community to help get people talking about how to manage gambling.”
Despite his usually light-hearted take on life, Kevin said the issue of gambling is really no laughing matter.
“Once you make someone smile and laugh, their defences come down and it’s a great way to get people talking, but once you see the statistics and see the millions of dollars problem gambling is ripping out of our communities, you understand it’s a big issue,” he said.
Data from the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation shows losses from electronic gaming machines during July 2018 exceeded $2.6 million in the Mildura Rural City Council region, and more than $750,000 in the Swan Hill Rural City Council.
On an annual basis, these figures jump to more than $28 million in losses from the Mildura Rural City Council region alone, and in excess of $8 million in losses from the Swan Hill region.
“The issue of gambling, and particularly losses suffered from playing the pokies, are having an increasing impact on our community, so it’s time we start the conversation and talk about how we can best tackle this,” MDAS Gambler’s Help Portfolio Officer Sioned Price said.
The upcoming forums are part of a response to recent local research, undertaken by La Trobe University, which showed community education, including com
munity gatherings, are an important way to reach out to gamblers and other members of the community. 
“This research showed us that to address the negative impacts of gambling, people want responses that are non-judgmental, and recognise problem gambling as a health problem or addiction,” Ms Price said.
“There was a strong sense that for interventions to work, more open discussion about gambling is needed, in part to address shame, one of the greatest barriers identified to addressing harm.”
Forums kick off in the region on 9 October 2018 at the MDAS Community Hall, 120 Madden Avenue, from 12noon to 2pm; in Swan Hill on 10 October, at the MDAS Community Hall from 12 noon to 2pm; and in Robinvale on 11 October at the Murray Valley Aboriginal Corporation, 87 Latje Road from 11.30am to 2pm. A free barbecue lunch is provided at each forum, along with a goodie bag for participants.
To register for a forum, or to find out more about the transport options available, contact MDAS Mildura on 5018 4100.
MALLEE DISTRICT ABORIGINAL SERVICES  “Our Vision: Generations of vibrant, healthy and strong Aboriginal communities”

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