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Online Self Assessment Tool For Problem Gamblers

For immediate release


29 August 2005

Online Self Assessment Tool To Help Problem Gamblers

Gambling Helpline today launched New Zealand's first online self assessment tool to assist problem gamblers in diagnosing their level of gambling risk. The tool has been developed by Gambling Helpline and CWA New Media to give more support to New Zealanders affected by problem gambling.

The web-based software allows users to assess their level of risk, save their results and re-engage and re-assess themselves at a later date for comparison. It includes links to additional self-help tools on Gambling Helpline's website and encourages people to seek help if their assessment shows high levels of risk.

Gambling Helpline chief executive, Krista Ferguson, says the Gambling Helpline is committed to increasing care options for people at risk of gambling related harm and the website tool is a key initiative.

"We believe self assessment is an important option that enables people to build self awareness. We hope this tool will also help people in the early stages of problem gambling to see the areas where they may need to consider some action.

"We understand the need to earn people's trust as they make their decision to contact us or other support, such as their GP. We believe the online tool, which can be used anonymously until they are ready to make contact, will help to achieve this.

"There is a trend towards people using the internet to investigate health options, recognising this, we will increase the self-care options available on the website in the longer term," she says.

The assessment tool includes links to downloadable information such as self-care booklets for friends and family concerned about the gambling of a significant other. It also links through to the Talking Point Forum where people who have been affected by gambling related harm can share their experiences and provide peer-support.

As a result of the Gambling Act 2003 New Zealand regulation encourages host responsibility at venues. International gambling website hosts are not covered by New Zealand legislation and these websites rarely include help mechanisms or any form of host responsibility. In providing additional online support options, the Gambling Helpline hopes to counter-balance this isolation and lack of support.

The self assessment tool can be accessed at www.gamblingproblem.co.nz.

ENDS

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