Dunne welcomes gambling services value-for-money review

  • Peter Dunne

Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne today welcomed a Health Ministry Value-for-Money Review of problem gambling services that found they were innovative, well designed and with good coverage of the most at-risk groups.

The review, undertaken by KPMG, focused on all aspects of the Government’s problem gambling programme, from the Ministry’s role through to the delivery of services to prevent and minimise gambling harm.

“The report provides a robust, in-depth review, identifying a range of strengths and areas for further development,” Mr Dunne said.

“It provides a strong level of reassurance that value for money is being achieved, and continues to improve significantly.

“This is something which we seek in every area of public expenditure, but especially in such tight economic times,” he said.

The review found that a strong trend in increased value for money was clearly evident.

Areas identified for further improvements were delivery against contracted targets for service providers, better evidence for public health activities undertaken and strengthening communication between the Ministry, service providers and the gambling industry.

“The report is robust and in-depth, identifying a range of strengths and areas for further development,” Mr Dunne said.

“Issues around gambling are a complex area, and there are a range of activities and services. The review findings provide an ideal stepping stone for the ongoing delivery of quality problem gambling services.

The full report can be found on the Ministry of Health website at



Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Ministry’s problem gambling programme comprised of?

The Ministry’s problem gambling team contracts intervention (counselling) services and public health activities and maintains a programme of research into gambling and problem gambling issues. These services include a toll-free Gambling Helpline and a national awareness and education public health media campaign. Funding for the 2010/11 year is $18.6m.

How are problem gambling services funded?

Problem gambling services are funded by the Ministry of Health, with the government being reimbursed for all costs of the Ministry’s problem gambling programme through the problem gambling levy, a levy on the gambling industry.

How much of an issue is problem gambling?

Problem gambling is a social and health issue in New Zealand that causes significant problems for gamblers and those around them.

Research suggests that a severe problem gambler adversely affects up to 7 others (though some estimates range higher).

The 2006/07 New Zealand Health Survey found that 1.7% of New Zealanders over 15 years of age (an estimated 54,000 people) were either problem (.4%) or moderate risk gamblers (1.3%).

• Māori and Pacific people are approximately four times more likely to be problem gamblers.

• People living in more socioeconomically deprived areas are significantly more likely to be problem gamblers.

• Four in every five problem gamblers had played on non-casino gaming machines (pokies based in pubs and clubs) in the last 12 months.

Gambling is a popular activity in New Zealand, with over $1.9 billion lost by gamblers in 2010. (www.dia.govt.nz)

How can people seek help for their own or someone else’s gambling problems?

Information and assistance for a person’s own gambling or that of someone close to them, can be obtained through the Gambling Helpline. The Gambling Helpline can provide a range of assistance including over the phone counselling, information packs and referral to face to face services across New Zealand. All Ministry funded problem gambling services are free for all clients, be they gamblers or affected others.

Gambling Helpline 0800 654 655