Gambling Help Service


Gambling in Australia is considered a social activity across all sections of the community. However, for some people, gambling can become a significant problem impacting on individuals and their families. The impact of problem gambling on people and their families may be quite severe and is usually associated with financial, legal, physical/mental health and relationship problems, including domestic violence.

People from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) backgrounds often engage in gambling activities due to the impact of migrating to a new country. Upon arrival individuals often experience anxiety over separation from family, boredom, loneliness and unrealistic self-expectations (Yamine & Thomas, 20001; Zysk, 20032). Unrealistic self-expectations can encourage a person to use gambling as a source of income to support the family in Australia and back in their home country (Productivity Commission, 19993; Zysk, 20032). Vietnamese gamblers in particular may be driven to gamble more for financial reasons than other groups and may perceive gambling as a source of income more than a form of social entertainment (Zysk, 20032). Research suggest that in South Australia the most popular forms of gambling among Vietnamese people are traditional card games, gaming at the Casino, electronic poker machines, lottery games and horse racing.(Zysk, 20032)

The Vietnamese Gambling Help Service has been servicing the Vietnamese community since 1996 and providing treatment since July 2012, with the aim of supporting members of the community to deal with their problem gambling behaviour. The service understands the significance and complexity of dealing with problem gambling for people of Vietnamese backgrounds and provides a service that is confidential, culturally sensitive and supportive of clients and their families.


1/ Yamine, R. & Thomas, S. (2000). The Impacts of Gaming on Specific Cultural Groups, Victorian Casino and Gambling Authority, Victoria.

2/ Zysk, A. (2003). Gambling in a Multicultural Society: A Study of Vietnamese Australians in South Australia, Department of Social Administration and Social Work, Flinders University.

3/ Productivity Commission. (1999). Australia’s gambling industries. Report no. 10. Canberra, Australia.

Our service

CASSA provides a range of services that aim to prevent and/or reduce the negative impacts of problem gambling to individuals, families and community as well as to increase access to gambling help services for Vietnamese people. Our services have been funded by the Gambling Rehabilitation Fund (GRF) through the Office for Problem Gambling in the South Australian Department of Communities and Social Inclusions, to provide gambling help services to Vietnamese people in South Australia.

The Vietnamese Gambling Help Service (VGHS) team provides the following services:

  • One on one support to individuals and their significant others who are affected by gambling problems in order to increase access to gambling treatment and other services.
  • Gambling therapy service for problem gamblers
  • Community education about problem gambling, stigma issues and the impact of gambling on individuals, family and the community

CASSA understands the complexity of problem gambling and is committed to providing high quality and culturally appropriate services for clients from Vietnamese backgrounds. We do this by ensuring that:

  • Services available to gamblers and their families are free
  • Workers are well-trained and provide a non- judgemental and culturally sensitive service to clients and/or their families
  • Access to these services is voluntary. In order to ensure the success of treatment services they are offered to clients wishing to access them on a voluntary basis
  • Confidentiality policies and processes are strictly followed. We understand the importance of client confidentiality and have a strong commitment to maintaining client privacy.

We take pride in delivering the best quality service to clients and we do this by respecting their individual right to self -determination and strongly believe in their capacity to decide what is best for them

1.One on one support to individuals and their significant others

We provide one on one support for Vietnamese people who are experiencing difficulties and hardships in their lives because of gambling problems through the following services:

  • Individual assessment on gambling and other related issues
  • Working with clients to develop personal plans and goals based interventions that suit the needs of each individual
  • Provide individuals with information and education on how to address problem gambling, such as therapy and/or self-barring services
  • Provide individuals with information and education on the range of impacts created by problem gambling, such as issues around family and social relations, mental health, housing, employment and legal matters
  • Link gamblers to alternative healthy activities or entertainment
  • Assist clients to set up budgets that can lead to an improvement on their financial situations
  • Provide support and advocacy to increase client access to relevant mainstream services
  • Support individuals through their treatment journey by assisting them to access therapy services and post therapy support

2. Gambling Therapy Services

CASSA provides a specialist treatment service for people experiencing problems with gambling from Vietnamese background. All of the therapists are professionally trained and have a broad knowledge and understanding of problem gambling and how it affects people.

Our therapy services are:

  • Available to individuals for free
  • Based on Cognitive Behaviour Therapy models that aim to break the relationship between triggers and gambling. The treatment rationale is that gambling behaviours, thoughts, feelings and body sensations are responses learnt while gambling, therefore they can also be unlearned or extinguished through controlled exposure to them. The treatment involves exposing gamblers to gambling cues (for example images or sounds) and asking them to focus on their feelings, thoughts and body sensations until these go away naturally.
  • Offered on weekly one-hour treatment sessions, for 8-12 weeks. The rate of success with this style of treatment is very high, with up to 80% of clients who complete treatment substantially achieving their treatment goals.
  • Family inclusive. Clients can bring a friend or family member for support during sessions. The therapist is also available to meet with the client’s partner or family at other times if the client wants them to be more involved in their therapy.

3. Community Education

CASSA understands that in order to support gamblers and their families to deal effectively with the effects of gambling, community values and attitudes must be challenged to reduce stigma and improve access to services.

Community education strategies aim to reduce stigma associated with gambling issues, increase community awareness around problem gambling, create awareness on how to reduce harms associated with gambling and encourage people with problem gambling and their families to seek help early. Community education programs also aim to deter young people from problem gambling.

Community education strategies include:

  • Workshops aimed at mature people and parents.
  • Workshops for young people
  • Community engagement through the distribution of gambling resources at local and cultural festivals
  • Promotion of information and issues through the local Vietnamese media:
  • Newspaper publication of articles and/or information
  • Ethnic radio discussions around gambling issues or information