Rise In Gambling In New Zealand’s Northland A Concern

Rise In Gambling In New Zealand’s Northland A Concern

There are several compulsive gamblers living in New Zealand’s Northland who are getting help to break the habit. Counselors are seeing a growing amount of gamblers who are primarily gaming online. The negative habit is leaving families who are already struggling financially in further debt. This rise in gambling is concerning the counselors and other professionals who work with individuals with gambling issues. One counselor even reported one gambler spent $2,000 in just one night.

Gambling Counseling in New Zealand

Gambling Counseling Nga Manga Puriri Northland Problem Gambling Services has definitely witnessed the rise of problem gambling. The organization currently services about 60 gamblers. It’s also dealing with five to six online gamblers a month who are young or middle-aged.

According to the Department of Internal Affairs, Northlanders spent $8.6 million on gambling machines during the third quarter of 2018. This is an almost $137,000 increase from the second quarter.

The profits from gaming machines went up during both quarters despite a reduction in the number of gambling venues. This suggests that pokie players were spending significantly more on gambling.

Between July and September 2018, there were 625 gaming machines in Northland. This was two more than the quarter before. The number of gaming venues was slightly reduced, from 48 to 47. In the third quarter of the year, gamers in Whangārei spent $4.3 million and Far North gamers spent $3.7 million. Gamblers who live in Kaipara spent $581,575.

Whangārei had the most gambling machines –195. The majority of machines were in the central region. This number was closely followed by Hikurangi, Kamo, Parua Bay, Tikipunga, Marsden Point, Ruakākā, and Waipū. These areas all had 88 gaming machines. Kaikohe had 68 gaming machines.

Problem Gaming and Policies

Marino Murphy is Nga Manga Puriri’s manager and problem gambling practitioner. She said organizations that deal with compulsive gamblers plan to collaborate to find more ways to combat the problem. Murphy states that local councils have had a sinking lid policy concerning the number of gaming venues and machines. However, the policy has been ineffective, for the most part.

Murphy asserted, “we still haven’t come up with a replacement to the sinking lid policy and the Problem Gambling Foundation and Māori providers will get together to look at a more robust way to minimizing harm, like, perhaps, having a cap on the number of gaming machines per venue.” She also confirms Nga Manga Puriri was treating one to two new gamblers every month for the last eight weeks.

Murphy stated the counseling center has never had such a consistent flow of middle-aged and young gamblers who need help. She also confirms there are more people gambling online. That problem is harder to monitor and stop. She asserted the facility has already helped gamblers who have excluded themselves from pokie venues. However, there is more that agencies can do to help online gamblers. They often don’t come to the facility until they are facing a crisis.

The Rise of Online Gambling

The agency was previously only seeing a few online gamblers on a regular basis. There were a few times when no online gamblers were coming to the facility at all.

Murphy says she and her counseling team have been able to work with some online gamblers. They have been collaborating with the gamblers’ banks to stop online payments. This method seems to be working well. She says many online gamblers don’t realize how much money they’re spending until their credit card bills come in.

Individuals who are having gambling problems can get assistance from the Salvation Army Oasis at salvationarmy.org.nz. They can also call the Gambling Helpline at 0800 654 655. Gamblers can also reach the Gambling Helpline at gamblinghelpline.co.nz.

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