17 November 2005
Increase in Number of New Zealanders Seeking Help for Problem Gambling
New Zealanders continued to seek help for their own or someone else's problem gambling in 2004, statistics released
today by the Ministry of Health show.
The Problem Gambling Intervention Services in New Zealand: 2004 National Statistics provide an overview of the
information collected by problem gambling services and the Gambling Helpline in the 2004 calendar year.
The statistics show a continued increase in the number of people using face-to-face counselling services for problem
gambling, consistent with previous years, said Deputy Director-General Mental Health, Dr Janice Wilson.
"Each year the total pool of people who access problem gambling services has continued to increase. Last year, four out
of every five new gambler clients to problem gambling service providers sought help as a consequence of their gambling
on non-casino gaming machines ('pokies')."
The Ministry has responsibility to prevent and minimise gambling harm, with a focus on public health, by raising
awareness of the risk of gambling, providing communities with information to make informed choices about gambling and
supporting communities to work together to tackle problems associated with gambling.
The Ministry also funds a range of treatment services to support people affected by a range of gambling problems to
identify and manage those problems, minimising gambling-related harm to themselves and others.
Dr Wilson says the 2004 data shows that 80% of clients benefited from accessing face-to-face services, according to the
progress measures collected.
"This is reassuring, however we also know a large number of people are not seeking help. We need more information about
possible barriers that may be preventing people from seeking help for problem gambling, and the Ministry will further
extend the availability of services."
The 2004 national statistics also show that:
- For the first time, the number of total females seeking help for their gambling problems exceeded the number of males.
- There has been a drop in the percentage of Pakeha/NZ European people seeking help and a corresponding rise in the
percentage of MAori clients.
- Maori clients were over-represented. In particular, the growth in new MÃori women clients using counselling services
- and 92% of new Maori women clients cited non-casino gaming machines as the primary mode of gambling
- a 100% increase since 2002.
- Most Pakeha/NZ European (60%) and Asian (79%) clients were male, while most MÃori (70%) and Pacific (62%) clients were
The Problem Gambling Intervention Services in New Zealand: 2004 National Statistics is available on the Ministry of
Health's problem gambling webpage: www.moh.govt.nz/problemgambling