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Small step towards eliminating gambling harm

Friday 30th September 2005

Pop-ups small step towards eliminating gambling harm

“The introduction of pop-up messages on pokie machines are a short step in the right direction, but don’t go quite far enough,” says John Stansfield, CEO of the Problem Gambling Foundation of New Zealand (PGF).

The Regulation comes into effect for all new pokie machines on Saturday 1st October 2005, but older machines are not required to have the messages until 1st July 2009. They will interrupt play for 15 seconds at intervals of no more than 30 minutes. The messages will provide information including how long that session of gambling has been and how much money has been won or lost, and must ask if the gambler wishes to continue.

“Research from Nova Scotia, Canada shows that the pop-up messages have a positive effect on reducing play and expenditure, but are not effective for high-risk problem gamblers,” says Mr Stansfield.

“This is of great concern as almost 90% of problem gamblers say pokies are the reason for their problem, and New Zealanders’ lost $1.035 billion in pokie machines last year.

“The regulations are not coming in fast enough. There are still thousands of older machines creating harm that won’t have these messages until 2009.

“Both Australian and Canadian research say that the pop-up messages are not truly effective without a pre-commit card that enables players to precommit, setting a budget for each session of play,” he says.

“More advanced host responsibility measures, such as pre-commit cards are needed to truly eliminate the harm caused by gambling.”

ENDS

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