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New Youth Website Tackles Gambling Issues

New Youth Website Tackles Gambling Issues

The Gambling Helpline today launched a new website to provide young New Zealanders with information about gambling and problem gambling. The website address is

Developed by the Youth Gambling Helpline team, which is part of the national Gambling Helpline, the website gives information to young people about:

Gambling and problem gambling

Assessing the safety of their own – or someone else’s – gambling, and

How to get support if affected by a gambling problem.

Gambling Helpline Chief Executive Gary Clifford says gambling is often perceived as an adult indulgence, yet as new forms of online gambling are being developed and introduced it is more accessible to young people than ever before. A recent investigation in the UK found that a 16 year old girl was able to open online gambling accounts with 30 of 37 popular gambling websites (BBC July 2004).

“Almost all forms of gambling using cellphones are now banned under the Gambling Act. However, young people still have easy access to internet gambling. As well as the addictive nature of internet gambling, there’s a danger that they may not have a sense of how much money they are losing when it appears no money is changing hands.

“Gambling will be seen as a normal activity by young people – lottery adverts are everywhere, their parents may regularly watch the races, and in general there are many competitions aimed at youth which can make gambling seem to be a fun and harmless entertainment. The challenge for us is to educate young people about identifying when gambling is becoming a problem, and where they can go for advice and support,” says Mr Clifford.

In a study of 425 New Zealand secondary school students[1], between 12.7% and 23.8% met the criteria for problem gambling, and 10% had gambled on electronic gaming machines (pokies) in the previous 12 months. Overseas studies have shown similar trends.

Last year, 15.7% of gambler calls to the Gambling Helpline were people aged under 25 years, up from 13.5% in 2000. Yet Mr Clifford says the number of calls does not reflect the true extent of youth problem gambling.

“We believe problem gambling amongst youth is fairly widespread, yet only a small proportion of young people come forward for help,” he says. “We hope that this new website will provide a greater awareness of the nature of gambling and its problems.”

“Teenagers, particularly, prefer to resolve their own problems and are less likely to seek help from third parties. They may believe that adults don’t understand them or the problems they’re facing. That’s why our Youth Gambling Helpline team are all young, trained counsellors - they believe in youth helping youth.”

Mr Clifford encourages young people, parents and teachers to check out the new website.

“There are five characters who appear throughout the website. Each has their own story to tell about how gambling is affecting them or someone close to them,” says Mr Clifford.

The character illustrations for the website were developed by a young Auckland designer and the content was developed by the Youth Gambling Helpline counselling team.

Background on the Youth Gambling Helpline

The Youth Gambling Helpline was launched in 2002 in response to New Zealand’s growing youth gambling problem, and was the world’s first youth gambling helpline.

The Helpline's philosophy is based on youth helping youth, so the Helpline is staffed by young, trained counsellors.

The Youth Gambling Helpline welcomes calls from anyone who’s interested in finding out more about gambling, whether they have concerns around their own or someone else’s gambling or would like to know more about it.

They take calls not only from gamblers and people affected by somebody’s gambling but also from teachers, youth workers, employers and community groups.

Youth Gambling Helpline

0800 654 659

Mondays 5 – 10 pm


Or phone the Gambling Helpline 0800 654 655

Any day of the week

You can ask for a counsellor from the Youth Gambling Helpline to call you back.

© Scoop Media

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