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Gambling Helpline Gears Up For Holiday Season

MEDIA RELEASE
23 December 2005

GAMBLING HELPLINE GEARS UP FOR HOLIDAY SEASON

The Gambling Helpline is expecting the number of calls to increase during the days ahead as friends and family of problem gamblers look for support - and of those significant others coming forward, 70 percent are women.

Gambling Helpline chief executive, Krista Ferguson, says that many people have heavier financial and emotional burdens during the holiday season and it's during these stressful times that a problem can often escalate.

"It is important for friends and families of problem gamblers, as well as the person gambling, to feel they have access to services which can help them," she says.

It is estimated that every person with a gambling problem has a negative impact on the life of seven others, including family, friends and co-workers.

"Traditionally calls are quiet around Christmas as people put all their attention towards festive activities. Then in January and February new calls increase as people become concerned that their financial situation has spiralled out of control over the holiday season.

"Gambling-related debt is a problem for many of the Gambling Helpline's callers. For significant others, the burden may include the inheritance of or shared responsibility for debt if their partner has used shared credit cards or the mortgage to finance their gambling.

"In past years we have seen new calls to the Helpline increase by as much as one-third over the holiday period," she says.

Krista says the Gambling Helpline is open seven days a week including Christmas Day.

"We want to encourage people who are worried about themselves or the potential problem gambling of someone close to them to call the Gambling Helpline," she says.

Those affected by gambling-related debt can access the specialist Gambling Debt Helpline (0800 654 658), which provides practical debt management advice and tools for gamblers as well as their affected partners and families.

If you are worried about your own gambling or that of someone close to you call the Gambling Helpline on 0800 654 655, or visit www.gamblingproblem.co.nz

ENDS

Gambling Helpline 0800 654 655 (Monday-Friday, 8am-10pm, Saturday-Sunday 9am-10pm)
www.gamblingproblem.co.nz

Maori Gambling Helpline 0800 654 656 (Wednesday 5-9pm, Saturday 8am-12noon)

Pasifika Gambling Helpline 0800 654 657 (Tuesday 6-10pm, Thursday 6-10pm)

Youth Gambling Helpline 0800 654 659 (Monday 5-8pm, Sunday 3-5pm)
www.inyaface.co.nz

Gambling Debt Helpline 0800 654 658 (Saturday 12-4pm)


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