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Kiwis urged to test their gambling during Gambling Harm Awareness Week

This week is Gambling Harm Awareness Week and with the country facing ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, Kiwis are urged to check in on their gambling.

Andree Froude, Director of Communications at the Problem Gambling Foundation, says it is a stressful time for everyone and this can trigger an urge to gamble.

“This is a good time to check in if you’re unsure if your gambling has become harmful to yourself or your family, so taking a quick, online anonymous test, will tell you more about your gambling,” she says.

“At the end of the test, you get a personalised report and the option of sharing your results and talking it over with a qualified gambling counsellor.”

Andree Froude says during the last COVID-19 lockdowns in 2020, many Kiwis took a break from gambling with venues around the country closed, but when venues reopened there was an unprecedented amount spent on pokies in pubs, clubs and TABs.

New Zealanders lost $252 million in the last quarter of 2020, the highest amount since records began in 2007 and this has now been surpassed by the April to June quarter of 2021 (Department of Internal Affairs). Data shows Kiwis lost more than $260 million on pokies in pubs, clubs and TABs around the country between April and June this year.

Andree Froude says the size of the post-lockdown pokie losses negates the Gaming Machine Association’s assertion that community projects will be missing out on pokie funds with venues closed again.

“Surely the significant losses over 2020 and 2021 are being shared as grants now,” she says.

“These lockdowns are however, a reminder that we need a transparent and sustainable form of funding for our community and sports groups rather than one that relies on vast amounts of gambling losses from poor communities and whānau where it causes so much harm. Fifty percent of pokie machines are in New Zealand’s poorest communities.”

Pokies in pubs, clubs and TABs, or Class 4 gambling, are the most harmful form of gambling in New Zealand and account for nearly half of all presentations to gambling support services.

During this Gambling Harm Awareness Week, if you’re concerned about your own or someone else’s gambling, free, professional and confidential help and guidance is available from support services around the country with phone, video conferencing, text, email and live chat options. Visit Safer Gambling Aotearoa for details:

https://www.safergambling.org.nz/help-and-support/services-near-you

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