We are delighted to host this gathering of people who are committed to making a difference in the lives of others and to also honour a number of distinguished keynote speakers to share their expertise with us in excessive gambling treatment and prevention.
Our focus at this conference is on the many of us who deliver support services, education and prevention programmes to those in need. How can we make helping services for gambling more visible and responsive?
The aim is to enhance our knowledge and skills in this area, share experiences and ideas and to enhance our efforts to address excessive gambling in Wales and to help inform a debate on how a nation-wide service to help excessive gamblers should be implemented. We look forward to enjoying a rewarding and stimulating conference with you.
Access to gambling has never been easier – either on the high street or via a computer or television. With some 1,500 FOBT (fixed odds betting terminals) machines in Wales, the average staked on each machine is just over £1,000,000 per year or about £3,000 per day, resulting in a pre-tax profit per machine of £34,000.
Gambling is not a new phenomenon, but excessive gambling in Wales is on the increase. Gambling can affect people from all walks of life. Figures for England and Wales show that almost 2% of the adult male population can now be classified as Pathological Gamblers. Gambling problems can lead to incredibly tough emotional, financial and psychological issues which are not easy to spot until it gets too much for the individual in question.
Many people who struggle with gambling don’t reach out for help until they’re in a crisis situation. Recent research suggest that only 10 per cent of people with gambling problems seek formal help.
The pioneering Beat the Odds initiative is a collaboration between one of the world’s leading gambling help services, The Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation, in North Melbourne, Australia, and community based recovery centre Living Room Cardiff.
As in Wales, problem gambling in Australia is increasingly recognised as an important public health issue with negative impacts for individuals, families and communities. It is estimated, from research undertaken by the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation that around 20-30% of Australian punters are classified as problem gamblers, who in turn account for as much as 50-60% of all money spent. In Wales the population spends £1.6billion a year on gambling.