The New Zealand government said it has invested $76 million ($48 million) on a strategy to minimize harm from gambling.
“Gambling harm is a serious public health issue and can have a devastating effect on the wellbeing of individuals, whānau and communities,” it said in a statement. “One in five New Zealanders will experience gambling harm in their lives, or know someone close who does.”
The investment will go towards training pathways to enable a more skilled and diverse workforce, including more peer and cultural support workers; New and expanded digital services and supports; Education initiatives to reduce harm to young people and a de-stigmatisation initiative to help change the conversation around gambling harm and encourage people to seek help.
It will also include better support for vulnerable communities, including Māori, Pacific, and Asian people.
“The new funding and strategy aligns our gambling harm prevention and minimisation efforts with the reforms to the health and disability system and the new mental health system we’re building,” Minister of Health Andrew Little said.
“Effective regulation of gambling means we can deal with harms including financial problems, relationship problems, family violence, and alcohol abuse. The new investment and strategy is about showing we’re serious about protecting New Zealand from these harms” Internal Affairs Minister Jan Tinetti said.
“The Strategy to Prevent and Minimize Gambling Harm was developed following public consultation in late 2021 and will ensure that services are co-designed with people with lived experience of gambling harm, service providers, community groups and industry bodies,” Jan Tinetti said.
The Strategy to Prevent and Minimize Gambling Harm will be funded by a problem gambling levy paid by non-casino gaming machine operators, casinos, the TAB NZ and New Zealand Lotteries Commission.