GETTING young people to love the game, not the odds is the key goal of a $49 million promise to regional Victorians.
But one Ballarat councillor says the new funding does not gone far enough to address the underlying cause of gambling addiction.
The funding which has been given to the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation is part of a record $153 million State Government investment.
The model will give 11 Gambler's Help partners across the state the freedom in how it determines the kind of assistance required in their respective communities.
This could include addressing concerns in online gambling and gaming, raising awareness of young people and families, support for mental illness and working within the justice system.'
A further $2.2 million a year will be given to support Aboriginal and other diverse communities within the state to offer counselling services within their community and in their own language.
Minister for Gaming and Liquor Regulation Marlene Kairouz said Gamblers Help services were crucial right across the state.
"We know that some groups are more vulnerable to gambling harm - that's why we're targeting at-risk groups to help them get the help they need, when they need it," she said.
However, Ballarat Councillor Belinda Coates said more needed to be done to address the source of problem gambling.
"Successive government's say they need the revenue," she said. "It's chicken and egg the money raised is going into health and social services from gambling addiction which comes at a huge cost to the community.
"They are only putting token funding into those downstream measures. They say it's about gambling prevention, but they are putting the onus on individuals rather than addressing it as a holistic health issue.
"It's not addressing the route cause of the problem in the first place and that is the ease of access to pokies."
CAFS deputy chief executive officer Wendy Sturgess said the funding would assist in working with young and disadvantaged people who are affected by gambling.
"In particular for CAFS, we are a partner of service delivery and we work with problem gamblers within the prevention and community space," she said.
"In the prevention space, we've got a role working with young people in schools, teaching them the seduction of cash is not the way to go to get money.
"We teach skills on budgeting and looking after their money so they don't get into the loop of gambling.
"This funding will allow us to do continue the work we do for a number of years in a very large area which goes from Western Melbourne right through to the South Australian border."
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