Below are some emails I have been fortunate enough to receive in support of my blog. Just thought I’d share them with you.

Good afternoon Mrs Armstrong

Thank you for including me as an addressee for your email of 6 May 2011 outlining your personal experiences with problem gambling, and suggesting ways in which this problem might be addressed.

Firstly, may I commend your honesty in being so open about aspects of your life which must carry a great deal of pain and angst for you, and for having taken such a proactive approach to supporting your husband and in seeking change to reduce the potential impact of problem gambling on others.

On a personal level, I couldn’t agree more with you about the tragedy caused by excessive gambling and, in fact, I wrote about this not long ago in my regular column in Life Gold Coast, and I’ve attached a file containing an MS Word version of the piece.  As you’ll see from this, I have long opposed the methods used by those profiting from gambling to maximise their patrons’ losses and, in fact, some of the suggestions you’ve made were pursued by CAPP (Citizens Against the Poker Plague), the anti-gambling organisation I co-founded with the Rev Tim Costello and others.

Accordingly, I’m pleased to see you’ve also included State and Federal politicians among your email addressees, as it is these entities that need to be lobbied in order to achieve change in this area.  May I wish you every success with your campaign for this most worthy of causes, and to commend you once again for your commitment in taking direct action to address a tragic and all too often under-acknowledged problem.


Ron Clarke MBE
Gold Coast City Council

Dear Kate,

Thank you for your email to me and I apologise for the delay in responding to you due to Senate Committee commitments.

Thank you for your support on this serious issue. Urgent action needs to be taken to curb the serious damage poker machines are causing in our communities.

As you are aware, I support the push to introduce a mandatory pre-commitment scheme on high-intensity poker machines by 2014. The Parliamentary Joint Select Committee on Gambling Reform’s recently released report into the design and implementation of a mandatory pre-commitment system for electronic gambling machines has refuted many of the claims being made by the gambling industry.

Thank you for taking the time to share your family’s experience with poker machine addictions. I hear from so many people how these machines can ruin lives and destroy families and each story only makes me more determined to do what I can to protect other Australians from the same difficulties your family has faced.

There are 600,000 Australians who gamble on poker machines weekly, with 15 per cent of those (some 100,000 people) addicted. These people account for 40 per cent of losses, averaging $21,000 lost every year. A further 200,000 people are showing signs they are on their way to full-blown addiction.

Problem gamblers make up 40 percent of the annual $12 billion losses on pokies, with each problem gambler impacting, on average, the lives of 7 others. These people deserve the better protection a mandatory pre-commitment scheme will provide.

You can keep up to date with all the latest information on this campaign at my website and show your support by ‘liking’ my Facebook page.

Please be assured that I will continue to do all that I can in relation to this issue.

Thank you for taking the time to write to me and please accept my best wishes.

Yours sincerely
Nick Xenophon | Independent Senator for South Australia

Hi Kate,
My name is Tom, and I run a blog called I write about problem gambling, the poker machine industry, the politics that go along with it… that sort of thing.

I came across your blog on the Responsible Gambling Advocacy Centre website, and I think what you’re doing is brilliant. I come from the other side of the fence; I’m a former problem gambler, and that’s my motivation for what I do… just as your experiences are yours.

To be honest, when I started my blog, I didn’t mean to become something of an activist in this area… I wanted to write about my experiences, the pain I felt and the pain I caused, what I learned… but I couldn’t do it. It was too painful, and I started developing an interest in the way the industry was run. One thing led to another, and my blog became more of an investigative website.

But originally, what I wanted to do is what you’re doing. Sharing experiences and thoughts, helping others by example. All the more reason why I admire what you’re doing; it’s something I couldn’t do.

If you don’t mind, I’d like to put a write-up about breathliftlive on my blog, and include a link back to your site from mine. I think what you’re doing deserves more visibility, and I’d like to help with that.

I wish you all the very best with breathliftlive; I see it’s still relatively new, but it has so much potential.

Tom Cummings

Hi Kate,

Thanks for the email about your blog I’ll be happy to put it up on the GIS website with a link . As a partner of someone who has struggle with problem gambling issues in the past and as a problem gambling counsellor and social worker I am aware that there are few supports for families and partners which is why we set up the GIS in NSW as well as to create an advocacy voice for those affected . I think it also important that family members have positive role models of survival as so many sensational stories involve the separation of families and few model the outcomes of recovery for all. So good luck with the blog and keep in touch.

Kind regards

Gambling Impact Society (NSW) Inc.

Hi Kate
Thankyou for you email. I think it is wonderful what you are doing and at some stage in the near future would love you to guest blog on a website.

Kind Regards
Relationships Australia

Hi Kate,

Thanks very much for your email. Your blog looks like it will be a good place for family and friends of problem gamblers to share their experiences. Please feel free to add a link to our website on your blog also.

Kind regards, and all the best,

Responsible Gambling Advocacy Centre

Hi Kate,

Just wanted to let you now we are featuring your blog on our facebook page today:!/gamblinghangover?v=wall

Kindest regards,
Online Communications Project Co-ordinator
Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing Communities NSW

Dear Kate,

Thanks so much for your blog and support.

Cheers MP

Hi Kate
I co-ordinate Inner City Gambling Counselling and from time to time run family workshops. Your website and story is so inspiring I wanted to invite you as a guest speaker. The workshops are very personal and generally I have about 5-6 family or friends. As you would understand sharing the story is very helpful, breaking down the isolation and giving people helpful strategies about dealing with problem in terms of support for the gambler but also importantly ‘self care. Hope to hear from you and congratulations on your great work.

HopeStreet Urban Compassion

p.s. I will be letting people know of your website. Best wishes

Hi Kate,

A link to your blog has been promoted by Steve Levakis of the City of Geelong.

I took the liberty of adding a link to your site on the home page of my blog, Trust this is OK.

I do some voluntary work for Nick Xenophon and have passed a link to Breathliftlive to his staff. If you look at, I do post people’s stories anonymously. If you wished to share any stories that you receive, I’m happy to post them on my site as well.

Keep up your fine work.

Paul Bendat

Dear Kate,

 Thanks for your email.

 I don’t pretend to fully understand the many issues you will have had to deal with but rest assured there is no question in my mind as to the destructive nature of problem gambling.

 We live in a world where the opportunities to gamble are expanding with each day and where bookmakers and other betting agencies have been able to use sports to drive new revenue streams, often with little return to the sports involved and little transparency on the part of the sports over the betting activities.

 The integrity agreements we have signed with betting operators in recent years have addressed those issues to some extent and given Rugby League a greater ability to veto bet types and to properly examine irregularities should they occur.

 There will always be some debate as to whether sports should have any involvement with betting but in truth betting has taken place around sports even before it was legalised through sports betting legislation. Sports did not seek to have gambling legalised, that was a decision of government.

 For sports to ignore the fact it is taking place and to do so in a way that allows them no transparency over the betting is not a realistic way forward.

 We do allow clubs to accept sponsorship from betting agencies as indeed does the NRL but these are governed by a number of guidelines that prohibit the involvement of individual players and enforce the need for responsible gambling promotion.

 The NRL has strict guidelines relating to staff, officials and players betting on the game – they are not allowed to be involved, directly or indirectly, in any way with gambling in relation to the NRL competition.

 The game also provides all players, game officials and staff, as well as their partners and immediate family, access to a 24-hour confidential counselling service, Davidson Trahaire Corpsych which includes specific support programs for players with gambling issues of any kind.

 The NRL is continually working with other sports to develop best practice approaches to gambling and integrity issues in areas such as education and training, codes of conduct and integrity management.

 It is fair to say that the majority of advertising around sports betting takes place outside of the sports and much of the television commentary you complain of would fall into that category.

 Broadcasters control their own advertising and the messages promoted by their commentators.

 There is a community acceptance that most people are able to gamble responsibly and are entitled to do so. Unfortunately, as you so clearly point out, there are those for whom gambling has devastating consequences.

 Sadly the opportunities for problem gamblers will be there regardless of the NRL and they have been there both legally and illegally for some time. The evolution of internet gaming in particular presents a seemingly uncontrollable set of options in this regard. In short the problems associated with problem gambling extend far beyond a sport such as Rugby League.

 We believe that an open and transparent approach which promotes the importance of responsible gambling and which recognises that sports are entitled to some return for the profits people make off their endeavors is a responsible way forward.

 Again I respect and understand the strong feelings you have on this subject and will bear in mind your views going forward.

 Kind regards
David Gallop
NRL Chief Executive Officer


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: