Gambling rates are on the increase in Canterbury, after the recent earthquake that devastated the area. According to reports, residents of the area are using the activity as a form of escapism to avoid dealing with the severity of the disaster that has recently taken place.
Stuff.co.nz reports that the Department of Internal Affairs has published figures indicating that gambling rates have risen nearly 10% from this time last year. Thus, analysts have valid reason to believe that the earthquake is a major cause of this behaviour.
“The increase could well be attributed to the incredibly stressful year we’ve had here”, says Tony Milne of the Problem Gambling Foundation. “It’s no surprise that people are looking for relief from that stress or using pokies as escapism”.
Christchurch saw a similar response to its earthquake last year. Gambling rates rose significantly, and even months later, rates are still quite high.
The Problem Gambling Foundation is concerned about both the long- and short-term effects of these situations. It seems that residents need other forms of therapy in order to deal with the natural disasters they encounter, but few resources are available.