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Gambling Harm Awareness Week highlights emphasis needed on harm prevention

Gambling Harm awareness week image
Posted September 3, 2019

The Salvation Army welcomes the opportunity to submit to the government’s online gambling consultation.

We believe there needs to be more emphasis on harm minimisation. While this is referred to in the Online Gambling Consultation document, The Salvation Army believes it is secondary to the government’s expansion of the online gambling platform, which will cause further harm to those most at risk from gambling harm: the vulnerable, children and young people.

The Salvation Army agrees with compulsory pre-commitment of pricing and time limits for online gamblers, however, we this needs to be opt-out, rather than opt-in.

We remain unconvinced that the Gambling Act’s stated aim to “ensure that money from gambling benefits the community” will mitigate the harms caused by gambling: increased crime, declining productivity, families going without, and strain on social, health and welfare services. These are outfalls from gambling that we deal with on a daily basis.

We are extremely concerned at the increasing problems we are seeing arising from online gambling available within our country; regulating offshore gambling may do nothing to prevent harm from online gambling.

We believe in the first instance strong regulations need to be put in place:

  • Banning credit card use for online gambling
  • Limits or prohibitions on advertising
  • Restriction of use of public wifi for online gambling
  • Age restrictions
  • Limits on hours of play and daily spend limits.

During Gambling Harm Awareness Week we encourage people to look out for the signs of problem gambling:

  • Hiding bills or unpaid debts
  • Borrowing for gambling
  • Exaggerating wins and/or minimising losses
  • Spending a lot of time gambling, or thinking and planning to gamble
  • Lying about time or money spent on gambling.

If you, or anyone you know is displaying these signs, help is available:

Visit www.thesalvationarmy.org.nz or call 0800 53 00 00.