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Published Thursday 23 May 2019

Gambling harm is a significant issue which can be harmful to health and wellbeing. It is a public health issue in New Zealand, and we have an interest in preventing and minimising gambling-related harm. This submission combines the voices of WrDHB and Regional Public Health.

Gambling harm is defined by the Gambling Act 2003, as harm or distress coming from, worsened, or caused by a person’s gambling. This includes personal, social, or economic harm experienced by the person, the person’s spouse, family, whānau, community, workplace, or society . Gaming machines (known as ‘pokies’) such as those operating in bars, pubs, or clubs cause the majority of gambling harm.

Gambling harm is not only experienced by ‘problem gamblers’. Research shows that the second hand adverse effects of ‘problem gamblers’ on others is four times the harm experienced by ‘problem gamblers’.The adverse effect of gambling on communities outweighs the adverse effect of illicit drug use disorders by a factor of three, and can cause more harm than chronic conditions such as arthritis and diabetes.

Gambling harm influences: 

  • Poor health, both morbidity and mortality
  • Emotional or psychological distress
  • Financial difficulties including bankruptcy
  • Reduced performance or loss of employment
  • Relationship breakdown
  • Criminal activity and neglect of responsibilities.

At Regional Public Health and Wairarapa DHB we are concerned that only minor amendments to the Wairarapa Electronic Gaming Machines and TAB policy are proposed. Instead bolder action should be taken. Read our submission for more information:

See submission HERE