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Have A Good Christmas - Stay Away From Pokies

How To Have A Good Christmas - Stay Away From Pokies

Staying away from the pokie machines is a recipe for a happy Christmas says John Stansfield of the Problem Gambling Foundation.

Mr Stansfield says that every year people come to his organisation in desperation after losing their Christmas money on the pokies.

He says that the festive period places heavy demands on low income people and there is a strong temptation to try to make some quick money.

"We have seen people think they can win enough to buy nice presents for their families and end up not even being able to feed them," he says.

"We want to send out a strong message that if you gamble on the pokies you will lose.

"If you try to increase your Christmas budget on a pokie machine you will probably end up with nothing.

"All honest gambling operators will tell you that gambling is a form of entertainment, not a way of making money."

Mr Stansfield says that there are some simple precautions people can take to avoid spoiling the holiday period for themselves and those closest to them by gambling.

"The first is to stay away from the machines until after you have bought your gifts and met all other expenses.

"If you are tempted by the machines don't go near places that have them.

"Remember time is the most precious gift you can give friends and whanau. Make a promise to yourself and others that you will spend time socialising, not sitting in front of a machine.

"Keep reminding yourself if you gamble you will lose.

"If you must gamble then leave your credit card at home."

Mr Stansfield is calling on all gambling venue operators to raise their host responsibility standards for the festive season.

"If bar or casino staff see someone gambling for an hour or more they should be approaching them to find out whether they can really afford to be doing so.

"It's simply not good enough to stand idly by while families' dreams are poured into these merciless machines."

ENDS

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