In the lead up to the Melbourne Cup next week gambling and its associated problems come under the spotlight in Australia.

While many will have a one-off flutter on the Cup next week and will easily recover their losses, there are many struggling to cope with their gambling problems.

To address the growing need for support for problem gamblers, Lives Lived Well is presenting a free workshop in Rockhampton for GPs and health professionals, aimed at better equipping them to identify and support problem gamblers.

The workshop will be facilitated by Dr Joel Porter, Associate Clinical Director at Lives Lived Well and member of the international Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers who has expertise and international experience with problems related to gambling and motivational interviewing.

At any one time 1% of the adult Australian population satisfy the clinical criteria for problem gambling; a further 4% are at a significant risk. Problem gambling frequently presents with other serious mental health conditions and substance use issues, including alcohol. 1

This training will not only help identify those requiring help for existing problems, but provide health professionals with strategies to support those who may have had previous problems and risk returning to problem gambling.

Australians have increasing access to gambling venues and online options. The combination of traditional gambling at venues and online, means gambling is now much more accessible, anywhere and anytime.

“We urge GPs and those working in front-line services, or those with an interest in problem gambling screening tools, to attend this one-day workshop”, says Dr Porter.

“Attendees will consider the importance ‘why screen for problem gambling?’ and will learn skills and techniques, such as how to use the problem gambling screening tool, and deliver a brief intervention ensuring that problem gambling can be detected and treated.”

There are effective and durable brief interventions and evidence based treatments for problem gambling, including motivational interviewing.

 “Enhancing motivational to change is a big factor when working with clients. Attendees will also benefit from a two-hour refresher of Motivational Interviewing and learn the foundational skills and strategies to enhance motivation and commitment to change with their clientele.”

The FREE workshop, Problem Gambling Screening and Brief Intervention, is being held on Friday 4 November from 10am-3pm at the Empire Apartment Hotel.

Register to attend by visiting

The workshop will also be offered in other locations across Queensland.

Lives Lived Well runs alcohol, drug and mental health support programs across Queensland, with local services based in Rockhampton and Gladstone.

For more information about our counselling, support and outreach services call 1300 727 957 or visit

These workshops are presented with Queensland Network of Alcohol and other Drug Agencies (QNADA) and is a Queensland Government Department of Justice and Attorney-General funded project.



Problem gambling:

  • 69–75% of adults have participated in some form of gambling activity in the past 12 months2


  • 2008–2009, gambling losses for the Australian community were $19 billion and average losses for each gambling adult were $15003


  • Most people with problem gambling have one or more additional disorders that require intervention in their own right. For example, 57.5% of problem gamblers (in the study undertaken) were shown to have substance use disorders5


  • Australian’s will bet more than $1.5 billion during the Spring Racing carnival4



1 Thomas SA, Browning CJ. Treatment of gambling problems in adults. In: Grossman L, Walfish S, editors. Translating Psychological Research into Practice. New York: Springer Publishing, 2013.

2 Thomas SA, Merkouris SS, Radermacher HL, et al. Australian guideline for treatment of problem gambling: An abridged outline. Med J Aust 2011;195:664–65.

3 Productivity Commission. Gambling, Report no. 50. Canberra, 2010. Available at [Accessed 6 May 2014].

4 B&T Magazine, 15 November 2015. Available at [Accessed 24 October 2016].

5 Lorains FK, Cowlishaw S, Thomas SA. Prevalence of co-morbid disorders in problem and pathological gambling: systematic review and meta-analysis of population surveys. Addiction 2011;106:490–98


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Michelle Saftich – Marketing & Media Officer
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