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Government proposes problem gambling strategy

Hon Damien O'Connor

Government proposes problem gambling strategy

The government's proposed problem gambling strategy has the potential to make New Zealand a world leader in addressing gambling harm.

The government's proposed problem gambling strategy has the potential to make New Zealand a world leader in addressing gambling harm, says Associate Health Minister Damien O'Connor.

The Ministry of Health today released its consultation document, "Preventing and Minimising Gambling Harm", in which it outlines its proposed problem gambling strategy.

"Gambling has emerged worldwide as a significant social and health issue," said Mr O'Connor. "In New Zealand, we've seen an alarming increase in problem gamblers and in subsequent gambling-related harm.

"The government's proposed strategy aims to reduce the harmful health effects of gambling by working with communities to increase awareness of harms.

"We are the first country to develop such a comprehensive approach to gambling-related health issues."

Under the Gambling Act 2003, the Ministry assumes responsibility from 1 July for the funding and coordination of problem gambling services, as well as for public health initiatives to prevent and minimise gambling harm.

Problem gambling services will be funded by a proposed problem gambling levy, to be collected from the gambling sector.

The consultation document released today includes a draft strategic plan, a needs assessment, a proposed three-year funding plan and proposed levy rates. The Ministry is seeking public feedback on the document.

"The Ministry wants to work collaboratively with problem gambling health providers, the gambling industry and interested organisations to shape and implement a final strategy," said Deputy-Director General of Public Health Don Matheson.

"This will ensure our approach reflects the needs, priorities and realities of all New Zealanders."

The consultation document and information about how to make a submission are available on the Ministry of Health's website www.moh.govt.nz/problemgambling.

Further information on problem gambling in New Zealand, The Gambling Act 2003, the roles of different government agencies and the transition period are available on www.moh.govt.nz/problemgambling.

ENDS


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