NZ Launches $60 Million Gambling Initiative

NZ Launches Gambling Initiative
New Zealand’s problem gambling pandemic is an ever-growing monster. So much so that local government has launched a new initiative aimed at bringing about much-needed relief for those suffering from the debilitating mental illness classified under the category “addictive behaviour”. According to an official government announcement, financial aid to the tune of NZ$60 million has been set aside for the sole benefit of the project and the country’s problem gamblers.

The initiative will be driven forward by means of a focused strategy; one that will have its foundation in peer support and residential care for those struggling with addiction. These and more details were recently announced by the country’s Associate Health Minister, namely Minister Jenna Salesa.

The Industry Itself Will Contribute

The funding will be made up of mandatory contributions to be imposed on the New Zealand Lotteries Commission, the New Zealand Racing Board, local casino operators and also non-casino gaming machine operators. The contributions will be imposed by means of the monthly payment of specified levies.

The initiative follows a 2018 recommendation made by the He Ara Oranga Report. The report dealt with various forms of addiction and the state of the nation’s overall mental health. The report pinpointed gambling as a possible harmful activity because of its propensity towards turning into addictive behaviour. The initiative will run for a period of 3 years and much of its focus will be on low-income societies. It was also announced that 5% of the allocated funding will be put towards combatting gambling addictions among people from Asian, Pacific and Maori groups. The mentioned groups have been identified as problem groups especially susceptible towards developing addictions.

Many Are Affected

Statistics and research have shown that one in every five of New Zealand’s permanent residents are in some way affected by problem gambling behaviour, whether personal or by association.

Gaming machines appear to be one of the biggest instigators of problem behaviour in the country and especially so among the mentioned high-risk groups. An estimated NZ$1.5 million of the funding has for this reason been allocated towards the more effective monitoring of gambling (slot) machines.

Peer support, recognised by many institutions as one of the most effective means of combatting problem gambling behaviour, will be deployed as far and wide as possible. Peer support is practically implemented by putting those who have overcome problem gambling into contact with people suffering from addictive behaviour. Mentorship programmes have in the past yielded much fruit in the war on addictive behaviour.