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Problem Gambling on the Increase

Problem Gambling on the Increase

The numbers of people seeking help from the Problem Gambling Foundation is almost double that of 12 months ago.

Problem Gambling Foundation CEO, John Stansfield, says that 150 new people used the service in March this year compared with 78 in March 2006.

A similar trend is occurring with other treatment provider organisations

Mr Stansfield is not surprised at the increase.

"The introduction of smoke free legislation was always going to bring about a temporary reduction in people seeking help," he said.

"This follows overseas patterns and was entirely predictable."

Mr Stansfield says that over 80% of problem gamblers do not seek assistance and attributes part of the increase to more innovative means of informing people about the free services they can access.

"Our team has been working very hard at letting people know that there is free and confidential help available," he said.

"We know that the people who are coming forward for assistance is only the tip of the iceberg and that there are lot of people in all kinds of difficulties who simply don't know what to do about it."

Mr Stansfield says that many communities were now identifying problem gambling as a major social problem and there is a real public appetite to do something about it.

He identified several areas that the Gambling Act needed strengthening in before it would be effective in dealing with gambling harm.

"First the machines have to be made safer by making the latest safety features mandatory," he said.

"Local government needs the ability to respond to community concerns and regulate the number and locations of all pokie venues and pokie trusts need to be made accountable to the community."

"If these changes were made we would have broken the back of a significant social problem; we would all be happier, healthier and better off financially," he said.

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,



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