Gambling is legal in New Zealand, but too much creates problems for players and their family members, with the possible repercussions of destroying careers and relationships. When you cannot control your betting activities, you become a problem gambler or an addict. Since these susceptible players cannot help themselves, the onus of creating responsible gambling policies and ensuring that service operators help their customers to wager safely is on the government.
Unfortunately, gambling harm is something that’s become a more common problem than many people might think. An even sadder reality is the fact that it’s an ever-growing concern across the globe.
But things are changing, and for the better! Various jurisdictions are acknowledging this problem and investing in the best possible channels – both to support those struggling with addiction as well as to help players prevent this pastime getting out of hand. So, where does New Zealand, its government and other regulatory bodies stand on this issue?
Senior Writer at NZCasinoClub.com, Robert Longthorpe explains that:
‘The good news is that earlier this summer the New Zealand government announced that it will be investing NZ$76.1m (£39m/€45.4m/USD$48m) in a bid to prevent and drastically reduce gambling addiction. While this is a good start, it is also operators’ responsibility to ensure player safety. This can be done by adding loss limit features or even automatically blocking a player’s activity when it’s flagged up as excessive.’
But are the efforts of the NZ government to promote responsible gambling adequate? Let’s see what the government does to prevent this type of addiction and assist players and their families.
NZ to Spend $76 Million on New Initiative
Despite the NZ government’s efforts to prevent problem gambling, the problem is fast rising in New Zealand. Recently, the government decided to invest $76 million in an initiative titled “Strategy to Prevent and Minimize Gambling Harm.” The plan is to launch educational campaigns and reach out to social groups most vulnerable to gambling-related harm.
But is this amount is enough and will the initiative have a big enough impact? Gambling opponents are always pushing for the government to do more. As of now, this is what New Zealand is doing to combat the problem.
Measures to Promote Responsible Gambling in NZ
The website of the Department of Internal Affairs has a section dedicated to problem gambling, which tells you how NZ promotes responsible gambling.
Measures to Curb Problem Gambling
The Kiwi government amended the Gambling Act in 2003 in March 2015 to include the following measures:
- Remove ATMs from betting venues.
- Impose maximum bets and prize limits for gambling machines.
- Display ‘reality check’ messages with information about the length of the playing session, the amount spent on the game, and the amounts lost and won every 30 minutes of uninterrupted play.
- Impose restrictions on advertising jackpots.
- Make it mandatory to provide problem gambling awareness training for employees of gambling venues.
- Make it mandatory for operators to provide essential information to players.
- Give employees of gambling venues the power to exclude patrons.
Problem Gambling Taxes for Operators
Operators of gaming machines in clubs and pubs, casinos, The NZ Racing Board, and The NZ Lotteries Commission have to pay problem gambling taxes from their profits. The Ministry of Health implements measures to prevent and treat this phenomenon and funds and coordinates relevant services.
Problem Gambling Support in New Zealand
When gambling stops being fun, you can request self-exclusion from the betting venue. This feature can be applied when making a request for exclusion from land-based casinos and online sites permanently or for a temporary period.
New Zealand also offers Multi Venue Exclusion (MVE), permitting vulnerable players to self-exclude from several casinos without having to visit each one.
How to Help Problem Gamblers in NZ
You can help at-risk players by guiding them to non-profit support organizations, such as the following:
- Problem Gambling Foundation of New Zealand – 0800-664-262
- 24/7 Gambling Helpline Services – Call 0800-654-655 or text 8006
- Tui Ora Taranaki – 06-759-4064
- Addiction Advice and Assessment Services Limited – Nelson – 03-548-2230 or 021-0226-0819
- Problem Gambling Foundation Christchurch – 0800-664-262