Is there a relationship between problem gambling and gender-based violence?

By Supplied Time of article published Nov 20, 2020

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Cape Town - Do you think there could be a relationship between the harmful effects of problem gambling and gender-based violence? Have your say at a webinar hosted by the South African Responsible Gambling Foundation (SARGF) on Saturday.

The month of November marks the 5th year of the National Responsible Gambling Month (NRGM).

During November up to 16 December SARGF educates the public about the potential harmful effects of problem gambling whilst offering free treatment and counselling to those negatively affected by gambling disorder.

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact, not only from a social point of view but also from an economic point of view, with a contraction in economic activity as a result of the lockdown many South Africans, have had to either take salary cuts or retrenchments and this has put an immense strain on household income and relations within the home.

With tough economic conditions and slow economic growth in South Africa, consumers have less disposable income for necessities like school fees, groceries and other household amenities and many consumers may be looking for alternative ways to grow their income over a short period of time.

“Taking a risk and gambling to increase your income quickly when you can’t afford it often leads to devastating consequences” says Sibongile Simelane-Quntana, Executive Director at SARGF.

As such this year SARGF chose the theme for National Responsible Gambling Month as “Minimising the Potential Harmful Effects of Problem Gambling: The relationship between problem gambling and gender-based violence”.

Data gathered by SARGF from international studies indicate that social consequences of problem gambling are affecting both males and females. The majority (67%) of females participating in gambling are divorced, compared to 33% of males. Other social consequences affecting both genders are child abuse, pain and suffering, and loss in quality of life. In addition, the majority of males are involved in domestic violence (62%), as compared to females (36%).

Those involved in gambling may end up with large amounts of debt, which can lead to violence or crime to repay the monies owed, therefore creating a spillover effect upon families, society, the police, and work.

During this month, SARGF will be discussing and unpacking different aspects such as the extent to which South African legislation protects families from problem gambling, the relationship between problem gambling and family violence, reporting gender-based violence and how the legal system handles gender-based violence complaints as well as the reporting and sensitivity of gender-based violence in the digital and social media age.

“This November and going forward we encourage South Africans that do gamble to continue to do so responsibly and to be aware of the warning signs and the potential harmful effects of problem gambling.

“This can be done through practising small habits such as setting a time limit when you gamble and stick to it, keep track of amount of money you are spending and set a limit on the amount you are prepared to spend on gambling, When you are gambling take regular breaks and think about when is a smart time to stop,” said Simelane-Quntana.

* SARGF’s free webinar “Minimising the Potential Harmful Effects of Problem Gambling: The relationship between problem gambling and gender-based violence” takes place on Saturday, November 21 at 9am. Register here:

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