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Pubs and clubs with pokies need to ‘up their game’

Media release: From the Salvation Army and the Problem Gambling Foundation of New Zealand

Pubs and clubs with pokies need to ‘up their game’

The Salvation Army and the Problem Gambling Foundation are disappointed by the results of the latest ‘mystery shopper’ exercise conducted by the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) to assess host responsibility practice in pubs and clubs with pokie machines.

While the results show an overall improvement across the casino sector, the same can’t be said for pubs and clubs, with only 12 out of 120 non-club venues meeting the standard and none of the 22 clubs.

Lisa Campbell, National Operations Manager for the Salvation Army Oasis, says in seven years working with venues it has seen some improvement, but there are still many venues where significant improvement is required.

“For too long, people with gambling problems have been hidden and stigmatised making it difficult for them to acknowledge their own harmful gambling and get support. Venue staff need to understand their duty of care and support their patrons to get help.”

Of the venues situated in high deprivation and high spending areas, only 59 percent met the host responsibility standards.

Paula Snowden, chief executive of the Problem Gambling Foundation, says this is particularly concerning.

“These are our struggling communities where there are high numbers of pokie machines and money coming out of the pockets of those who can least afford it,” she says.

“This is where pokie venues need to be particularly vigilant with their host responsibility. Venues and pokie trusts need to be reminded that it is a legal requirement to minimise the risks of harmful gambling and staff are required to be trained in harmful gambling awareness.”

The DIA conducted the mystery shopper exercise in late 2016 to assess current host responsibility practice in class 4 venues (clubs and non-clubs) and casinos in relation to pokie machines.

The full report is available on the Department of Internal Affairs’ website:
https://www.dia.govt.nz/Gambling-machine-mystery-shopper-exercise-2017

Ends:

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