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Australian Problem Gambling Ad Criticized

9 April 2003

AUSTRALIA – As reported by the Sydney Morning Herald: "An advertising campaign showing a woman leaving her partner because he is a problem gambler has upset poker machine operators, even though it has caused gamblers to flood a helpline.

The television ads are `flat-out disgraceful', according to Penrith Panthers Leagues Club's general manager, John Wilson.

"…The TV and radio campaign featured the woman taking her children and leaving her partner after discovering she could not pay for groceries because their credit card had been cancelled.

"…The Gaming Minister, Grant McBride, said more than 6000 people called the Government's G-line counselling service during the campaign - 30 per cent more than the year before.

"…But industry sources said gaming operators disliked the ad and some blamed it for a loss of revenue during the early part of the campaign.

"…John Thorpe, re-elected president of the Australian Hotels Association on Tuesday, said the ads had caused controversy because experts believed they were the wrong approach to harm-minimisation.

"A gambling psychologist, Alex Blaszczynski, from Sydney University, said the TV ad raised awareness but also stigmatised gamblers…"

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