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Internal Affairs issues warning over gambling

19 August 2004

Internal Affairs issues warning over text gambling and young people

The Department of Internal Affairs today issued a press release on the issue of text competitions which are aimed at young people - and whether they breach the Gambling Act.

The Department has warned telecommunications companies and broadcasters in particular that they could be in breach of the Gambling Act 2003 if they offer text-based competitions with the purpose of making money from the texts.

Offers of a prize whereby people send a text to a particular number to go into a draw is illegal and contravenes the Gambling Act, as no goods or services are being offered.

Because it’s not a sales promotion, the company would be operating illegal gambling for its own profit. The CEO of the Problem Gambling Foundation, John Stansfield, says: “Youth are now growing up in a generation where gambling has become acceptable. With the advancement of new technology, gambling is becoming increasingly appealing to young people. This is a very dangerous space indeed.”

“The prevalence of problem gambling amongst young people compared to the adult population is steadily increasing. The industry needs to be made aware of the consequences of their actions and the implications that problem gambling can have on our communities,” said Mr Stansfield.

“The Department of Internal Affairs has identified an issue that is becoming more and more commonplace, as young people are using mobile phones as part of their everyday social interaction.

“Let’s hope the Department’s words are heeded by those it’s aimed at. We all have a responsibility to minimise the harm caused by problem gambling can have on our youth,” said Mr Stansfield. If you are concerned about your gambling behaviour, or the effect of someone else’s gambling on your life, call the Problem Gambling Foundation of New Zealand on 0800 664 262 for free, confidential counselling and support.

ENDS

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