The expansion of online gambling is only a click away, and this is not good news for many in our communities. The Salvation Army released a short advocacy paper today titled Online gambling in Aotearoa: Just a click away?
The Salvation Army is strongly opposed to any further expansion of online gambling in Aotearoa. We already have significant online gambling via Lotto New Zealand and the TAB, says author Ronji Tanielu. For example, in 2017/18 there were 746,000 registered MyLotto players. By 2019/20, there were 1,230,000 registered players. Digital sales for Lotto topped $430 million in 2019/20, almost a 100 percent increase from the previous year.
Online gambling has the potential to be even more dangerous for people and whānau than pokie machines and other forms of gambling due to the ease of access and the private, hidden, or isolated nature of this form of gambling.
The Government has signalled their clear intentions over the last few years to expand online gambling and establish a new regulatory framework for this. While there are some benefits to robust regulation, we challenge the Minister of Internal Affairs to establish strong harm prevention and minimisation tools, including comprehensive advertising restrictions, age restrictions and spending limits. This will ensure that there is a real focus on individual and collective wellbeing.
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