Pokies being ‘paused’ during Gambling Harm Awareness Week
Pokies are being ‘paused’ in recognition of Gambling Harm Awareness Week
Pubs and clubs from Bluff to Kaitaia will be ‘pausing their pokies’ for an hour during Gambling Harm Awareness Week, 3 - 9 September.
The ‘Pause the Pokies’ initiative is being coordinated by the Problem Gambling Foundation (PGF), Mapu Maia (Pacific Counselling Service), Asian Family Services, and several community partners around the country to raise awareness about gambling harm.
Andree Froude, Director Communications at the Problem Gambling Foundation, says over 70 venues are signed up to take part which is an outstanding result.
“It is great to be able to work with venues and community partners to raise awareness about harmful gambling, particularly pokies,” she says.
“The awareness week starts with 15 of the 17 venues in Invercargill pausing their pokies in the morning and there are some venues participating that are pausing their pokies every day for an hour during that week.”
Ms Froude says the national theme for Gambling Harm Awareness Week this year is ‘take time out from gambling, put time into whanau’ so gamblers will be encouraged to take a break from their gambling and connect with whanau.
“We are hoping that pausing the pokies will also allow gamblers to think about their gambling and it may lead to people seeking help from a local service if they are experiencing harm or know someone that is,” she says.
The latest New Zealand National Gambling Study, one of only two gambling studies in the world that has followed and assessed a large national sample over time, states that although participation in gambling has fallen, rates of problem gambling have not similarly reduced and gambling continues to impact heavily on Māori and Pacific peoples.
Ms Froude says the money going into pokie machines is mostly coming from the pockets of those who can least afford it.
“There are five times as many pokie machines in the most deprived areas as the least deprived areas, so gambling continues to impact heavily on vulnerable communities,” she says.
For a list of venues around the country taking part in Pause the Pokies and the times they are ‘pausing’, visit the PGF website www.pgf.nz/pause-the-pokies.html or follow on Facebookwww.facebook.com/PausethePokies/
If you’re concerned about your own, or someone else’s gambling, help is available and it’s free and confidential. Ph 0800 664 262 or visit www.pgf.nz