Gambling Act to tackle increase

  • Damien O'Connor
Health

Disappointing gambling statistics released today are exactly the kind of thing the new Gambling Act will tackle, says Associate Health Minister Damien O'Connor.

Annual statistics show an increase in gambling expenditure, especially in casinos and on non-casino gaming machines, the most common source of problem gambling.

Mr O'Connor said the new Act was designed to address the increase.

"The new Gambling Act will control gambling growth, prevent harm caused by gambling and ensure gambling funds are re-invested in the community.

"It will treat problem gambling as a public health matter. Under it, the Ministry of Health will assume responsibility for co-ordinating and funding programmes, with the ultimate aim being to reduce and prevent gambling harm."

Mr O'Connor hoped the approach would raise public awareness of risks associated with gambling and assist groups and organisations to manage harm in their own communities.

"Problem gambling is a devastating addiction that is emerging worldwide as a serious health and social issue.

"New Zealand is a world leader in addressing gambling as a public health issue. No other country has done it. The new Act will strengthen this country's commitment to combating gambling harms.

"I am optimistic gambling statistics will improve once the Act takes effect."