The main issue is for young people to understand the value of money, says Cliff Banks.
The main issue is for young people to understand the value of money, says Cliff Banks. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

Your odds: ‘close to zero'

GAMBLING experts have welcomed the call from Clubs Australia to include responsible gambling education as part of the national school curriculum.

Northern Rivers Gambling Service counsellor Cliff Banks said the initiative was "a good thing".

The clubs movement submitted a document to a parliamentary inquiry into problem gambling, requesting gambling education and awareness programs be integrated into financial literacy lessons.

Mr Banks explained that the earlier people understand that the odds of winning in gambling are close to zero, the less chance they will become addicted to it.

"It is a false belief that people can make money gambling.

"People believe they can do it but it is not the case. The gambling industry would not exist if people could make money out of it. The only ones who make money are the bookies.

"The main issue is for young people to understand the value of money. Most of Gen Y don't understand it.

"There is no sense of the value of savings. That is why this education should be imparted at high school level," he said.

With 10 years experience in the field, Mr Banks has seen gambling addicts as young as 17 coming to rehabilitation programs in NSW.

He regularly assists people in their early 20s at his office at The Buttery, near Bangalow.

He also confirmed that the gender representation in gambling addiction is even, with as many females as males being admitted to rehabilitation programs around the State.

The counsellor confirmed he is currently receiving two to three new clients a week who have addictive gambling behaviour from the Northern Rivers area and parts of the North Coast.

Susan Dyer, president of the Wollongbar Public School P&C agreed with the idea in principle.

"It is worthwhile at a high school level and I think the parents should be advised that this is part of the school program, just like they do with family planning and sex education," Mrs Dyer said.

"Parents should be able to withdraw their children from those classes if they have specific religious beliefs or if they feel that they are responsible for the education of their children in that topic or if they don't want that knowledge to come from an education department," she said.

More information on the services provided at The Buttery can be found at nrgcs.org.au or by phoning 02 6687 2520.



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