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Dangers in quoting dated statistics

17 November 2005

Ministry of Health demonstrates dangers inherent in quoting dated statistics

Contrary to the image painted by the Ministry of Health there is solid reason to believe problem gambling may have peaked in New Zealand the Chief Executive of the Charity gaming Association, Francis Wevers said today.

“At a recent meeting jointly convened by the Ministry of Health and the Department of Internal Affairs some problem gambling service providers reported a significant downturn of about 30% in the number of people seeking help with their gambling.

“The MOH statistics show this comes on top of significant reported reductions in new gamblers calling the Gambling Helpline during 2004 compared with 2003. First time calls by gamblers dropped by more than 11% in 2004 over the previous year. First time calls by family members dropped by nearly 20% between 2003 and 2004.

“While at this stage the evidence is only anecdotal it came from reputable problem gambling service provision organizations and individual practitioners. This clearly suggests that the gloomy picture painted by the Ministry in its media release may not be true during either 2004 or 2005.

“Since the end of 2004 there have also been a number of changes in the gambling sector as a result of changes in legislation. These have had broad impact. The full extent of the impact is only starting to be seen now.

“We look forward to the anecdotal information being reflected in the official data collected by the Ministry of Health which will be reported next year,” concluded Francis Wevers.


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