People speak about how the gambling industry promotes views beneficial to itself. The gambling industry claims that gambling is a matter of choice. They claim that personal responsibility and self-control will keep everyone safe.
Yet at the same time, they push people to gamble more. The industry uses clever marketing and promotion to encourage people to spend as much as possible. Great effort is put into venue design, website design, and product design. This is done purely to make people spend more.
People are accused of making a ‘lifestyle choice’ and being irresponsible when they suffer from gambling harm. This hides the role played by the irresponsible practices of the gambling industry. It also hides the role played by the government, when it does not regulate gambling as an addictive product.
I had one person say to a friend of mine well, all you’ve got to do is stop. Oh my god. All you’ve got to stop. What sort of an answer is that? When the Fun Stops, Stop. It’s too much because they make it sound so easy. Well, when your fun stops, stop. OK, I’ll stop. So, stop sending me emails. Stop VIPing me, you know? It’s a two-way thing, isn’t it?
Many people speak about how bad they feel because of ‘responsible gambling’ messages. These slogans make people feel that they are to blame for their suffering. People are being told it is their responsibility ‘to control themselves’, but they are being sold something addictive. Things that are addictive make people lose control so they keep doing it even when it is harmful to them. This is an impossible situation.
It’s mad. It really is a crazy thing. Like how? How can you harm yourself and your family? Oh, I know, lie to them and lose all your money. Yeah. Crazy, but yeah, I know I felt like I deserved it, and I don’t feel like I deserved it now. And this comes back down to that industry narrative of putting all the onus upon the person who is addicted. You know, you play responsibly, you set these limits, you self- exclude. And what I needed was somebody to say, crikey, this isn’t okay. You need to stop them. What’s going on in your life? Why do you feel like this?
The first thing I tell people is that instead of being closed and, you know, putting a barrier around yourself, you need to be accepting that you’ve got an illness. A lot of people don’t accept that it’s an illness. And so consequently, they think it’s a life choice which are, you know, it’s chicken and the egg. Yes, it was a life choice to gamble. However, they didn’t choose to move into the problematic pathological aspect of gambling that that is, you know, that comes about because of complex issues that are all contributing factors for somebody moving into that area.