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 New Zealand’s Gambling Problem

What is the problem?

Gambling is an activity that can be fun and sometimes profitable. The problem lies in the addiction, which begins to form as the fun continues over time. In New Zealand, the statistics show that at any given moment 0.3% to 1.8% of people are likely to be deemed as a problem gambler. This means that at any given time, 10,000 to 60,000 people are playing casino or Lotto games. According to the New Zealand’s Gambling Act of 2003, a problem gambler is defined as a person whose gambling causes harm or could cause harm. Through questionnaires, it has been learned that Pacific and Maori women are more likely to become problem gamblers and experience the harm that comes with gambling.

The rippling effects of gambling

We may believe that gambling is a fun activity and will not affect anyone but the player.  Unfortunately, this is not the case. Some of the ways that other people are affected include:

  • Poor Parenting
  • Family violence
  • Crimes to others (beatings, theft, murder, etc.)
  • Suicide

When children see their parents not caring about them or taking money to feed the family and gambling it away, the children suffer and learn no other way to live. Violence within the family then leads to violence outside the family, and eventually a parent or both could become a new member in the local jail. At any given time, seven to seventeen people are involved in the repercussions of one gambler. This can be calculated to 500,000 people bearing the repercussions of gambling per one gambler. This is astounding!

A gambler may seek help and get over the addiction, but the consequences may last for a lifetime. For example, people living in a low-income development have a higher risk of becoming problem gamblers. The parents are poor examples for the children. The children then grow up and repeat the same cycle.

In conclusion, New Zealand has a problem with gambling and we have to focus on developments in treatment in order to attack this problem. Gambling has repercussions that can last a lifetime and then create problems for children or other family members involved. Reaching out for help can be hard, but it is so important to creating a solution to this problem.