Problem gamblers warm up to 24-hour counselling hotline

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Problem gamblers warm up to 24-hour counselling hotline

Postby DM101 » Wed Apr 07, 2010 7:09 am

SINGAPORE - The phones have been ringing off the hook at a 24-hour hotline for gambling related issues since Singapore's first casino opened two months ago.

The National Council on Problem Gambling's (NCPG) helpline received about 450 calls in February and 520 in March. In comparison, it received a monthly average of 200 between October - last year when it was set up - and January.

Many of the callers are seeking help for what they see as a gambling problem in a family member or friend, but a number of problem gamblers are also coming forward.

Twelve counsellors man the helpline which is run by the National Addictions Management Service of the Institute of Mental Health. The issues they deal with has also grown more complex, said Ms Mildred Tan, chairperson of NCPG's public communications subcommittee.

"Now there's a lot more sharing on the lines. (Callers) will tell us who in the family has a problem and it could also go into social issues such as, if the person has left the family and they don't know where he is, and (that) he's running away because the loan sharks are after him," she said. "You can see the dysfunctional issues appearing in the family."

Apart from directing callers to other sources of information and help, counsellors also try to meet callers in person.

Some of these calls eventually translate into actual exclusion orders being issued, said NCPG.

Forty-nine family exclusion orders have been issued since applications opened in April last year.

In the last two months, there has been a spike in those applying to bar themselves from the casino at Resort Worlds Sentosa (RWS). NCPG has received 567 applications - including 191 in February and 218 in March - for self-exclusion orders since applications opened in November last year.

RWS' casino opened on Feb 14. More people are expected to seek help when the Marina Bay Sands (MBS) casino throws open its doors on April 27.

NCPG is working to ensure safeguards are implemented effectively. For example, help cards are now available in RWS' casino toilets where they can be picked up in privacy.

It is also in "constant and ongoing dialogue" with MBS on implementing social safeguards, said Ms Tan.

In a statement to MediaCorp yesterday, RWS said a "handful" of excluded individuals have tried to enter its casino, but there are measures to stop them from succeeding.

As yet, no patron has made use of its counselling service, but "this is typical for counselling services provided by casino operators, as it takes time for the programme to gain momentum", said RWS.

No one has also made use of its voluntary loss-limit system, in which they can declare beforehand the maximum amount they are willing to lose.

Source: http://www.todayonline.com/Singapore/ED ... ng-hotline
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Re: Problem gamblers warm up to 24-hour counselling hotline

Postby ikelos » Sat Apr 10, 2010 1:51 am

Gambling is only a problem when you lose.

True or False?
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Re: Problem gamblers warm up to 24-hour counselling hotline

Postby necrohavoc » Mon Apr 12, 2010 9:19 pm

True and False..as it's a zero sum game. hehe
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