Western Sydney-based multicultural service speaks gambling harms

Senior man sits in front of flat screen television. He holds a mobile phone which displays a betting app and a current soccer match with live results. There is an option to bet on the match.

Culturally appropriate counselling and support services will now be more widely available for people experiencing gambling harm across NSW’s diverse communications thanks to a partnership between Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) and the Office of Responsible Gambling’s flagship GambleAware program.  

WSLHD has more than 20 years’ experience delivering multicultural services through the Transcultural Mental Health Centre and previously operated the state-wide Multicultural Problem Gambling Service. 

WSLHD Chief Executive Graeme Loy said: “We’re looking forward to working with all GambleAware Providers across NSW to build capacity to support multicultural communities and deliver culturally appropriate services. 

Our goal is to ensure that anyone who needs help can speak to someone in the language they are most comfortable with, and who understands both their culture and community.” 

WSLHD chief executive Graeme Loy
Maria Cassaniti

WSLHD Transcultural Mental Health Centre manager Maria Cassaniti said generic gambling support has not always translated into the best outcomes for people from culturally and linguistically diverse communities.

“Understanding the client’s cultural context is very essential,” Maria told SBS.

“What is particular to western Sydney is our diversity, so it’s important we reach diverse communities, communicate safe messaging around problem gambling, and link them up with support.”

The GambleAware multicultural service complements the NSW Government’s broader GambleAware program, which provides free and confidential counselling to anyone in NSW experiencing gambling harm. 

Office of Responsible Gambling Director, Natalie Wright, said that gambling issues affect all communities in NSW, particularly those from culturally diverse backgrounds, and everyone should be supported when facing gambling harm.  

“It’s important that our services can reach everyone who needs them,” said Ms Wright.  

“No matter your background, you are able to access appropriate support in the language and setting that best suits you.” 

Research funded by the Office of Responsible Gambling found culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities are vulnerable to increased risks of gambling related harm. Individuals from these communities tend to participate in gambling less than the overall population but, when they do, are more likely to experience problems. 

Intersecting factors can also combine to generate higher incidence of gambling harms in CALD communities. For example: different beliefs about luck and chance; migration stressors; issues around stigma and shame; and lower rates of people seeking treatment. 

WSLHD Chief Executive Graeme Loy said: “Given these vulnerabilities, this partnership is a great opportunity to connect multicultural communities across NSW with vital support services.” 

Learn more about GambleAware