Gambling affects people from all walks of life. Listen here to ex-AFL player, Brett Guerra, talk about his gambling addiction and the impact it had on his family and friends.

The Upper Murray Regional Neighbourhood House Network was successful in securing Prevention Partnership Program funding through the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation. The project, called Behind the Scenes at the Neighbourhood House, runs from October 2019 to June 2021.

The overall goal of the project is to increase the skills, knowledge and understanding of UMRNHN members so they can be proactive in their work with people at risk of gambling harm, particularly through the reduction of social isolation and loneliness and overcoming the stigma associated with gambling.

The project will have a staged approach:

  1. Raise awareness amongst members about the issues of gambling. A project worker will work with members individually and collectively, providing information, training and tools so they develop the understanding and confidence to proactively consider new and existing opportunities with a ‘reduction of gambling harm’ lens.

  2. Resource members through seed funding to develop local strategies that reduce the risk of gambling in their community.

This project recognises the work done by CHAOS Network in East Melbourne in the Together We Do Better project, and aims to build on the learnings from that project to contextualise it to a rural/regional network setting.

Evidence of need


There is evidence to indicate that loneliness can increase likelihood of risky behaviours, including problem gambling (Risk Factors for Problem Gambling Report 2015). Loneliness and social isolation have been identified by Network members as a growing issue, as evidenced by the increased participants in, for example, community meals and food share.

Areas of significant socio-economic disadvantage exist across the project area eg Myrtleford, Benalla, Seymour; public housing in West Wodonga, Yarrunga and West Wangaratta.

A general review of health and wellbeing data does not highlight gambling as a particular problem in the communities in our Network area. However, Wangaratta, Benalla and Mitchell Shires stand out as having high expenditure for Electronic Gambling Machines (EGM LGA Level Expenditure). Anecdotal evidence from a youth mental health service in Wodonga reports that a high proportion of clients have been impacted by gambling, either through their own activity or that of a family member. 

Project partners

We are fortunate to have had interest in our project since beginning work on the application. Several organisations have partnered with us to help with the successful delivery of our project: