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Gambling Helpline Open This Christmas

Gambling Helpline Open This Christmas

Gift-giving and spending go hand-in-hand during the Christmas period. Unfortunately the financial pressures faced at this time of year are often at their most extreme for problem gamblers and those close to them.

Gambling Helpline Chief Executive Gary Clifford says Christmas can be a difficult time for people with gambling problems and those who are struggling with gambling-related debt. He encourages people who need help to call the Gambling Helpline on

0800 654 655.

“We are open every day of the year - including Christmas day - to provide free, confidential counselling and support over the phone,” says Mr Clifford.

Figures released earlier this month by the Department of Internal Affairs showed that gambling losses continued to grow in the 2003/2004 year, increasing by $168 million to a total of $2.039 billion.

Those affected by gambling-related debt can access a specialist service called the Gambling Debt Helpline (0800 654 658). It provides practical debt management advice and tools for gamblers, as well as their affected partners and families, who can end up sharing responsibility for their debt.

Mr Clifford says gambling-related debt is a significant problem for many of the Helpline’s callers.

“We’ve sampled 66 recent callers to the Gambling Debt Helpline. Collectively the personal debt held by this group was reported at $1.573 million. That is no small matter.”

Mr Clifford says the recent case of the Dunedin woman who was convicted of stealing $500,000 from employers to fuel her gambling addiction, is an unfortunate but preventable scenario.

“Gambling spending and gambling-related debt can easily get out of hand. We’d like to encourage people who are worried about themselves or someone close to them to call the Gambling Helpline for support and intervention this Christmas.”

Gambling Hepline: 0800 654 655

Every day of the week, including Christmas day

Gambling Debt Helpline: 0800 654 658

Saturdays 12 – 4 pm

For more information about the Gambling Helpline and its services visit http://www.gambling or contact:

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