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Gambling Helpline To Close At End Of October

Media statement

30 April 2008

Gambling Helpline To Close At End Of October

Gambling Helpline reluctantly announced today it will be closing at the end of October following unsuccessful contract negotiations with the Ministry of Health.

After serious consideration, it was the view of the Gambling Helpline’s board of directors that it would not be in the best interests of current and potential clients for Gambling Helpline to enter into the proposed contract.

“Gambling Helpline has a long and successful history of providing New Zealanders suffering from gambling-related harm with innovative and successful solutions.

“After several months of negotiation, we considered the contract being offered was too restrictive on our ability to best serve our clients.

“The wide-ranging needs of clients are paramount and unfortunately we felt that the proposed contract was too onerous in a number of areas. We’ve outlined this to the Ministry and are deeply disappointed at the outcome.

“We’ve considered all available alternatives, including pursuing other funding avenues, but services such as ours all around the world are reliant on public funding.”

Gambling Helpline chief executive, Krista Ferguson, said the helpline’s services would remain operational until the end of October 2008.

“Existing and new clients can continue to contact us and we encourage them to do so.

“We will be working through what this means for existing clients directly with them.”

This year, Gambling Helpline celebrated its tenth anniversary. During the past decade, Gambling Helpline has supported more than 34,000 Kiwis experiencing gambling-related harm and been recognised nationally and internationally for the quality and innovation of its services.

Ms Ferguson said highlights over the past ten years were the introduction of Pacific, Youth and Maori Gambling Helplines, as well as specialist gambling debt services, integrated care, and online and text services.

She thanked the many people whose help had been critical in establishing Gambling Helpline as a leading provider of problem gambling services in New Zealand.

“It has been a privilege to work closely with all communities in need. In particular, the Maori and Pacific communities, who are particularly affected by problem gambling. We thank all communities for their support.”

The current contract with the Ministry expires today and Gambling Helpline will continue to operate under similar terms and conditions until October 2008.

Gambling Helpline clients or those who believe they or their family/friends may have a gambling problem should contact the helpline on 0800 654 655.

ends

For more information contact

Coran Lill on 027 600 8602

Existing and new Gambling Helpline clients can contact the following:

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

Maori Gambling Helpline 0800 654 656 (Monday 12 midday–4 pm, Wednesday 5-9pm, Saturday 8am-12noon)

Pasifika Gambling Helpline 0800 654 657 (Tue 5-9 pm, Thu 6-9 pm, Friday 12 midday - 4 pm)

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

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

ABOUT GAMBLING HELPLINE

Gambling Helpline is the national gambling problem distance counselling service by phone, email, text or web. Its services are provided to people who are, or have been gambling, family and friends concerned about someone else's gambling and the general public interested in what impact gambling has in New Zealand.

Gambling Helpline is often the first point of contact for people wanting to talk about gambling problems, however, it also provides ongoing support and a number of specialist supported or self-help programmes. In the past 10 years it has provided services to more than 34,000 New Zealanders.

Gambling Helpline for the past four years has co-hosted with AUT University an international think tank on presenting gambling populations and first contact services.

The CEO is a member of the Ministry of Health/Department of Internal Affairs Expert Advisory Group for preventing and minimising gambling harm. The organisation has provided consultant services internationally, runs an international survey of gambling helplines, has hosted best practice workshops for gambling helplines and regularly presents at international problem gambling conferences.

The helpline is funded via a contract of services with the Ministry of Health. The Ministry manages funding from a compulsory levy on the gambling industry regulated through the Gambling Act 2003.

www.gamblingproblem.co.nz

ends


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