Fans Mental Health

Reducing the risk of harmful gambling

The AFL Players’ Association and the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation have joined together to host a symposium with a focus on understanding the complexity of gambling within professional and community sport.

Psychologists and sporting development and managerial staff are invited to attend the conference held on Friday November 29 at the Ian Potter Auditorium at the University of Melbourne in Parkville.

The conference is headlined by Zoi Penoglou – Specialist Independent Gambling Psychologist, Dr Rebecca Jenkinson – Leading Researcher (Young men and sports betting) AIFS and Tony Phillips – Gambling Industry Expert (VRGF).

Dr Christopher John Hunt, Clinical Psychologist at University of Sydney’s Gambling Treatment Clinic, is also set to present in a session dedicated to the specific needs of mental health practitioners.

The purpose of the event is to understand some of the research that exists in relation to the health implications related to harmful gambling and to dig deeper and look at ways to reduce gambling harms at an individual and system level.

Shining a light on the challenges related to living with gambling as a society and reducing the likelihood of harmful gambling behaviour from a systems perspective is another discussion topic that will be explored in detail at the conference.

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AFLPA Head of Mental Health and Wellbeing Brent Hedley said the event would be highly informative for those in the sporting industry.

“The AFLPA are proud of its partnership with the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation. This partnership has supported and continues to support the delivery of educational programs to players and, via a staged consultation process, tailored action plans to support optimal club environments,” Hedley said.

“‘Reducing the Risk’ symposium attendees can expect to gain an increased knowledge and understanding of aspects concerning gambling harm prevention, in the context of elite athlete, sporting environments and the broader community. This is a fantastic professional development offering for both AFL industry staff those operating outside of it.”

The topics covered include:

  • AFL lived experience presentation
  • Gambling from a clinical perspective
  • Young men and sports betting
  • Sporting clubs interactive workshop
  • Online gambling – what do we know?
  • Industry Experts – Panel Discussion

Brisbane midfielder Allen Christensen has been open in seeking assistance from the AFLPA’s network of psychologists and said his gambling addiction was an “ongoing battle”.

“I don’t think I can look too far into the future and as any addict will know it’s just day-to-day life,” Christensen told earlier in the year.

“Some days, especially for me around spring carnival, I’ll have my ups and downs and it can get pretty tough. Like I said, for anyone who has an addiction it’s an ongoing battle and you’re never truly over it. It’s about putting those things in place so you don’t do that again.”

Registrations for the event close on Wednesday November 27.

For more information about the event and to register, click here.