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Problem Gambling Strategy released

3 March 2005

Problem Gambling Strategy released

The government today released a major plan to reduce the harmful effects of gambling on individuals, families and communities.

The Strategic Plan for Preventing and Minimising Gambling Harm made New Zealand the first country to develop such a comprehensive approach to gambling-related health issues, said Associate Health Minister Damien O’Connor.

"The Strategy will address gambling harm using a range of measures, including health promotion to raise public awareness of gambling risks, and provision of information to communities to encourage informed choices about gambling. It also boosts problem gambling treatment services for individuals and families."

The Ministry of Health is spending a total of $54.5 million over the next three years managing and delivering the strategy.

Mr O'Connor said the gambling climate in New Zealand had changed dramatically in the last decade. “Most notably we've seen the emergence of problem gambling and its associated social and economic costs. While gambling can be an enjoyable form of entertainment for many people, it can also cause distress for families and whanau and put huge pressure on relationships. It can lead to debt and crime and it’s an issue we need to take seriously.”

The strategy aimed to assist government, communities and families to work together to prevent gambling harm and reduce gambling-related inequalities.

“Government and organisations – including service providers and the gambling industry – must work together to successfully address gambling harm in the long term.”

Last year the Ministry of Health released a draft consultation document that included the strategic plan, a funding plan, a needs assessment and proposed problem gambling levies. Public feedback on the document helped shape the final Strategy. The Strategic Plan for Preventing and Minimising Gambling Harm 2004–2010 and the Three-Year Funding Plan are available from the Ministry’s problem gambling webpage: www.moh.govt.nz/problemgambling

ENDS


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