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Fourth Gamble Free Day on Monday 1st September 08

Press Release...

Fourth Gamble Free Day on Monday 1st September 2008

Monday 1st September will be New Zealand's fourth annual Gamble Free Day. This is a day set aside to raise public awareness and knowledge about gambling harm caused in New Zealand society.

"The importance of the day will be commemorated with activities nationwide," says Glenda Northey, Research Librarian for the Problem Gambling Foundation of New Zealand (PGF).

"Auckland will host lunchtime street theatre in Queen Street at 12 noon, which will emphasize the harm problem gambling causes families and communities."

"We will use a pokie machine as a device to show the level of harm done in the poorer area in Auckland," she says.

Auckland is not alone in its bid to raise the general public's awareness about problem gambling. All the venues with pokies in Nelson have been asked to switch them off for the day. A list of the venues who comply will be publicized.

"PGF will be very visible at the Nelson Local Market Day, with plenty of information about the impact of gambling on the community," says Northey. "This is a great opportunity for people to see what really happens when they gamble beyond their limits."

Other PGF centres around New Zealand have organised events and programmes to highlight the impact caused by problem gambling on our communities. Please visit our website for details and times http://www.pgfnz.co.nz/gamble-free08.htm .

· Hamilton and Rotorua will have displays in their local libraries. Hamilton joins with PPSAI in Garden Place with a stall to raise awareness about problem gambling.

· A poster competition will be held at Gisborne schools. The posters are to be displayed in the Army Hall on Gamble Free Day and they will be judged by the mayor and local artists.

· New Plymouth will be holding a public forum on Wednesday 3rd September as part of a Regional Seminar on Gambling Harm Awareness. This will be held at the New Plymouth Council Chambers between 10.30am - 2.30pm .

· A joint Agency approach will be taken in Wellington where problem gambling agencies PGF, Oasis and Rangataua Mauri Ora will have stalls in Lower Hutt, Porirua and on the corner of Manners and Cuba Street. The public will be encourage to undertake a screening exercise and in return will receive a goodie bag filled with a problem gambling fridge magnet, fact sheets and sweets.

· In Christchurch the consumer group FOG (focus on gambling) Problem Gambling Foundation, other service providers and members of the public will be marching to raise awareness about problem gambling in the community. There will be a display in the square, George Wynyard from He Waka Tapu will sing his song about gambling, a courageous client will read his poem about gambling and members of FOG will talk to the crowd.

· In Wanganui PGF joins with Maori Public Health Provider Taumata Hauora Trust to host a combined event in the town square.

A large number of Asian Restaurants are showing their support for Gamble Free Day by providing discount vouchers for meals in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.

Problem gambling is a growing public health issue in New Zealand. In New Zealand up to 3% of the adult population are problem gamblers making up some 50,000 problem gamblers.

"The gambling industry is particularly targeting vulnerable groups of population by placing more pokies in deprived areas in NZ. It is important that the public realises who is affected by problem gambling, and Gamble Free Day is the ideal opportunity for that," says Northey.

Some facts about problem gambling in New Zealand:
· Problem gambling can lead to family break-ups, workplace problems and results in crime. It puts pressure on health services and the criminal justice system. Problem gamblers may also spend money gambling instead of providing the essentials of life, like food or housing, for themselves and their families.

· In New Zealand certain groups of population experience more harm from problem gambling than others. Maori, Pacific and certain groups of Asians (recent migrants, Chinese and Korean) are more affected than others. However, half of problem gamblers and those seeking help are New Zealand European/Pakeha.

· Last year New Zealanders lost $2.020 billion through all forms of gambling

· $950 million was lost on pokies outside casinos

· There are 19856 non-casino pokies in 1552 venues

· Pokies were the primary mode of gambling for 81% of clients

· 2643 new clients (gamblers and their families) sought help in the year ended 30th June 2007. Over 5168 clients were provided with counselling during 2007

· Over 60% of problem gamblers live in low socio-economic areas

For more information please contact Glenda Northey on (09) 369 0619.

Problem Gambling Foundation of New Zealand Problem Gambling Foundation of New Zealand Floor 1, 128 Khyber Pass Road, Grafton. P.O. Box 8021, Symonds Street, Auckland


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