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New Zealanders Seeking Help for Problem Gambling

17 November 2005

Increase in Number of New Zealanders Seeking Help for Problem Gambling

New Zealanders continued to seek help for their own or someone else's problem gambling in 2004, statistics released today by the Ministry of Health show.

The Problem Gambling Intervention Services in New Zealand: 2004 National Statistics provide an overview of the information collected by problem gambling services and the Gambling Helpline in the 2004 calendar year.

The statistics show a continued increase in the number of people using face-to-face counselling services for problem gambling, consistent with previous years, said Deputy Director-General Mental Health, Dr Janice Wilson.

"Each year the total pool of people who access problem gambling services has continued to increase. Last year, four out of every five new gambler clients to problem gambling service providers sought help as a consequence of their gambling on non-casino gaming machines ('pokies')."

The Ministry has responsibility to prevent and minimise gambling harm, with a focus on public health, by raising awareness of the risk of gambling, providing communities with information to make informed choices about gambling and supporting communities to work together to tackle problems associated with gambling.

The Ministry also funds a range of treatment services to support people affected by a range of gambling problems to identify and manage those problems, minimising gambling-related harm to themselves and others.

Dr Wilson says the 2004 data shows that 80% of clients benefited from accessing face-to-face services, according to the progress measures collected.

"This is reassuring, however we also know a large number of people are not seeking help. We need more information about possible barriers that may be preventing people from seeking help for problem gambling, and the Ministry will further extend the availability of services."

The 2004 national statistics also show that:

- For the first time, the number of total females seeking help for their gambling problems exceeded the number of males.

- There has been a drop in the percentage of Pakeha/NZ European people seeking help and a corresponding rise in the percentage of MAori clients.

- Maori clients were over-represented. In particular, the growth in new MÃori women clients using counselling services was substantial

- and 92% of new Maori women clients cited non-casino gaming machines as the primary mode of gambling
- a 100% increase since 2002.

- Most Pakeha/NZ European (60%) and Asian (79%) clients were male, while most MÃori (70%) and Pacific (62%) clients were female.

The Problem Gambling Intervention Services in New Zealand: 2004 National Statistics is available on the Ministry of Health's problem gambling webpage: www.moh.govt.nz/problemgambling


ENDS

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