Don't go overboard on Melbourne Cup Day, warns UWS gambling researcher

Date: 04/11/2002

Professor Jan McMillen, Director of the University of Western Sydney's Australian Centre for Gambling Research, can offer expert comment in the lead-up to Melbourne Cup day.

Professor McMillen says most people enjoy a traditional once-a-year flutter on the first Tuesday in November, but reminds punters not to bet more than they can afford to lose.

"Having a bet on Melbourne Cup day is a proud Australian tradition," Professor McMillen says.

"Millions of dollars are wagered nationally during the Melbourne Cup carnival. While most people can enjoy themselves by betting small amounts of money, some people may be tempted to bet beyond their means.

"This can place a lot of stress on the family finances."

Professor McMillen recommends responsible gambling, and says those having a flutter should stick to a few basic rules.

"Work out how much you can reasonably afford to wager, and stick to it. While winning is great, punters must be prepared to live with losing any money they put down," Professor McMillen says.

"Sweepstakes at work are a great way to bet responsibly. The outlay is usually only a few dollars, it's a great social activity, and it allows you to share in the spirit without emptying your wallet.

"But most of all, enjoy the day. It's a special time of year that draws together Australians from all walks of life," Professor McMillen says.

If anyone thinks they (or a family member) have a problem controlling their gambling, call the Gambling Problem Help Line (G-Line) on 1800 633 635. This is a free and confidential service.

Victoria: Gamblers Help Line: 1800 156 789
Queensland: Gamblers Help Line: 1800 222 050
Canberra: Lifeline: 02-6247 0655
Western Australia: 1800 622 112

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