Liquor and Gaming NSW

​Awards for NSW problem gambling counsellors

Tuesday 26 March, 2013 

The State’s most outstanding and long-serving problem gambling counsellors have been recognised for their valuable community contributions with special awards, Minister for Hospitality and Racing, George Souris, said.

Mr Souris said there were more than 150 frontline counsellors funded through the Government’s Responsible Gambling Fund who together deliver over 20,000 counselling sessions across 187 suburbs and towns in NSW each year.

"The NSW Government, through the Responsible Gambling Fund, will be investing more than $48 million in face-to-face counselling and support services over the next four years.

"Problem gambling is something that has a major impact on the lives of many individuals and their families and our professional gambling counsellors deserve the deepest respect for their efforts in helping get these people’s lives back on track," Mr Souris said.

"In 2011-12, face-to-face problem gambling counsellors delivered more than 20,000 counselling sessions to 4,414 clients in 187 towns and suburbs across the State, helping people with gambling problems.

"The annual Responsible Gambling Fund Conference being held in Sydney this week is a chance to recognise some of the best and most dedicated people working in the sector through the presentation of Excellence and Long Service awards".

Excellence Awards for outstanding achievement were presented to:

  • Sondra Kalnins from Hopestreet, who has worked in inner Sydney for more than 14 years helping thousands of people, many of whom are marginalised or homeless, with treatment for gambling addictions.
  • Ashley Gordon from the Aboriginal Safe Gambling Program, who has taken gambling awareness into the heart of Aboriginal communities throughout our State to help address the issue of indigenous gambling.
  • Professor Alex Blaszczynski, Director of the Problem Gambling Treatment Clinic at the University of Sydney, an esteemed clinician, author, researcher, editor and international authority on problem gambling whose efforts have prompted awards from Harvard Medical School and the American National Council on Problem Gambling.
  • Rowan Cameron of Clubsafe, a former counsellor and early champion of the need for multicultural counselling services now focused on addressing problem gambling through Clubs NSW. Mr Cameron helped pioneer self-exclusion in gaming venues and became the first gambling counsellor directly employed by industry.

Long Service Awards for those who have dedicated seven and 10 years continuous services to the community were presented to:

  • Bronwyn Schwetz of Gambling Solutions on the Central Coast (10 years service)
  • Stephen Edman of Mission Australia North Coast (10 years service)
  • Helen Ford of Anglicare in the Southern Tablelands (10 years service)
  • Lincoln Poole of Unifam Uniting Care in Gosford (7 years service)
  • Barry Prater of Wagga Family Support in Wagga Wagga (7 years service)
  • Elyssa Renton of the Royal North Shore Hospital’s Centre for Drug, Alcohol and Gambling services (7 years service)

Problem gamblers and their families can access free, confidential help 24 hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week by phoning 1800 858 858 or visiting