close icon

Development   /  Judy Avisar

Three Sides of the Coin – The Recovery Gamble

People harmed by gambling break through shame and make the conversation public.


Impact areas





  • DIRECTOR Irene Metter and Catherine Simmonds OAM

  • PRODUCER Judy Avisar



These two new short films in Three Sides of the Coin's Recovery Gamble series, introduce us to Carolyn and Fred who have struggled for many years in secret with a gambling addiction.
Carolyn went to jail at age 64 for stealing $400,000 from her employer to feed her pokie addiction. Young Michael's addiction to gaming took him to the edge of a relationship breakdown. After years of shame, guilt, self loathing and disconnection, both Carolyn and Michael were able to seek help, stop gambling/gaming and reconnect to the world.
Their stories are brought to life by Catherine Simmonds OAM, Australia’s leading community cultural development theatre maker. The pace is fast and compelling, with animation and original music scores transporting the imagination of the viewer. The stories capture the roller coaster, the blurry line between gaming and gambling, the back stories, escalation into addiction, how they sought help and were able to find direction in their lives again. By adding these 2 new stories, we will reach, support and educate new audiences (youth, older women, prison inmates).

Support this project

0% funded
  • $25,000.00

  • $0.00

  • June 2022

  • 0

Minimum amount is $ Maximum amount is $




Issue Summary

A short summary of the issue the documentary is addressing

Australia has the highest rate of gambling globally per capita, losing approx $24 billion a year. Statistics show that one person’s gambling problem affects on average 7 other people, with depression and relationship problems reported by 3 out of 4 addicted people. The stigma and shame shrouding gambling makes it very difficult for people to reach out for help and to speak up.
Three Sides of the Coin videos showcase people who know the intricacy of gambling addiction. ‘Experts by experience’ educate the community and train professionals about gambling harm and its links to other health issues eg mental health, family violence, drugs, alcohol. The purpose is to disrupt the normalization of gambling, reduce stigma, humanize the people behind the addiction, increase help-seeking, and frame gambling as a public health issue.
The 2 new stories will highlight the rise of gaming to gambling and online sports-betting amongst youth, and how a trustworthy elderly woman lands up in prison.


What is the impact vision statement of the documentary?

- View gambling as a public health issue with a need for legislative reform
- Mobilise lived experience stories as a key tool in education:
Carolyn’s story - educate the justice system to understand gambling as an addiction, so that sentencing is proportionate
Michael's story - the dangers of grooming youth from gaming to gambling, and online sportsbetting
- De-shame gambling to encourage help-seeking
- Change stigmatising language such as ‘responsible gambling’, ‘problem gamblers’


What outcomes does the project hope to achieve from making this documentary?

Increasing the diversity of Recovery Gamble video stories will immediately enable 3SOC to reach a wider audience. Viewers will understand that gambling harm affects us all across age, gender, ethnicity, socio-economic status. Audiences will build an awareness about the connection between gambling, mental health and crime, gaming and gambling, and the targeting of youth.
We envisage that these stories will inspire diverse people to stand up and add their voice to our bank of stories. The storytellers will be recognized as advocates, and invited to accompany their videos at events, conferences and in the media.
We aim for the allied sectors to mandate gambling as an intake question for clients.
Our work will continue to grow the voice of lived experience demanding social change and corporate responsibility.
In the long-term we aim to change the culture, language, attitudes, legislation, so that communities petition their MPs demanding gambling reform.


How will this documentary achieve its outcomes?

3SOC will utilize the videos to ignite discussions around the complexity and intersectionality of gambling addiction., with affiliated services, professionals, funders and the general community.
Videos will be screened at PDs, conferences and meetings, together with a Q&A with one of the storytellers.
Organizational partnerships will use these videos to support and educate their clients.
E-newsletters with film clips will inform targeted communities of upcoming workshops run by 3SOC, and new monologues will be crafted and filmed, to add to our existing Recovery Gamble library.


How will partnerships with this project help inform the project development?

3SOC Advisory Committee comprises representatives from various health sectors, addiction services and lived experience reps . The roll-out of the video stories will be informed by their input. Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation (VRGF) has provided partnership funding and SHARC (Self Help Addiction Resource Centre) manages the 3SOC project. Their broad and relevant networks will enhance the distribution and reach of the video stories. We also collaborate with Headspace, Lifeline, Financial Counseling Australia, Neighbourhood House Networks, Australian Vietnamese Women’s Association, Gamblers Help services, and many other relevant services. All are supportive in promoting our work, believing in 3SOC as an exciting grass-roots, lived experience change-maker.

Audience Engagement and Social Impact

What actions does this project hope for its viewers after seeing this film?

We hope viewers will seek help and support for their own or a loved one’s gambling addiction.
Referrals to Gamblers Help services - by both professionals and people harmed themselves (knowing they are not alone and recovery is possible).
Professionals (and general public) will recognize behaviours, motivations and consequences portrayed by people who have been harmed by gambling, and will ask clients (or friends) about gambling.
Services will add screening question about gambling to client intake.
Contact local MPs with an understanding that gambling is a public health issue.
Requests to screen films at professional development sessions, conferences, work meetings, community events etc.
Attract storytellers from diverse communities.
Sign up to Alliance for Gambling Reform for direct action campaigns.
Host screenings to ignite gambling conversations in communities.
Utilise gambling-free venues to host activities and events.

Measurement and Evaluation

What is the projects indicators for success?

Three Sides of the Coin project has developed an Evaluation tool in collaboration with First Person Consulting. A feedback form will accompany the videos, asking key questions around shifts in attitude, new understandings and proposed actions.
Other evaluations are vox pops feedback after a screening, direct feedback about organisational shifts (for eg Lifeline has added a question about gambling in their phone script after witnessing a performance at a PD session), stats from hits on the screening site and monitoring people who contact us for more information or request to join the group.