Symposium Focuses on Gambling Effect On Children

On August 23, St John in the City hosted the Wellington Symposium, which focused on the effect that problem gambling has on the lives of young people. The event attracted a wide range of interested, and industry experts, gambling researchers and young people were in attendance.

Jiroh, 11, and sister Jireh, 12, spoke at the symposium to provide the audience with a look at their experience with problem gambling. Both of their parents are addicted to gambling, and they wanted to ensure that other young people in their situation develop a healthy outlook.

Jiroh read from poem, which pleaded with his parents to stop gambling and to put their children first. He stated that children are the most affected when problem gambling is present in a family, because they are often neglected. As such, they develop feelings of anger and depression.

Their performance at the symposium was inspiring. Gaming industry professionals and researchers that attended gave them a standing ovation, and they now have a better understanding of how children are affected by problem gambling.

“We really really do need to care for our most disadvantaged children,” says Victoria University professor Jonathan Boston. “They are precious, they are vulnerable and they are powerless. If we do not speak on their behalf, then they cannot”.

Problem Gambling Foundation Criticizes Pokies Grant System

The job of New Zealand’s Problem Gambling Foundation is to point out flaws in the country’s gambling market that are detrimental to problem gamblers. The organization is dedicated to bettering the country’s gambling industry by reducing problem gambling rates. Now, the Problem Gambling Foundation has set its sights on pokies grants, stating that the system has failed by creating a dependence on poker machines.

“One of the real addictions that we’ve got in this country are sporting groups and community groups that absolutely rely upon the funding from pokie trusts,” says Graeme Ramsey, chief executive of the Problem Gambling Foundation.

Organizations have become so attached to pokies grants that many are fighting the new Harm Reduction Bill, which will change the pokies grants are awarded. Even though the new bill aims to benefit the country by reducing problem gambling rates, many community groups cannot part with the funding provided by poker machines.

So, it seems that organizations will have to find a new way to generate funding. There are plenty of sources out there, and they will simply have to look a little bit harder to find them.

New Zealanders Lose $250 Million on Pokies

In a recent report, it has been revealed that New Zealanders have lost $250 million on poker machines over the course of the last year. This statistics have come as a shock to the local community, especially since Sky City has been granted the right to install 350 to 500 new poker machines in return for building the city’s new convention centre.

The New Zealand Problem Gambling Foundation released these numbers, illustrating that problem gambling is becoming a serious issue in the country’s biggest city. What is more concerning, however, is that only a small portion of the money lost on poker machines is actually pumped back into the community.

According to the report, between $55 million and $95 million is returned to the community, less than 50% of the profits generated by poker machines. Of that, most of the money is presented to sports-related organizations, which receive $21 million in funding. Arts and community services receive less than $5 million combined.

As such, now seems to be the perfect time for the upcoming gambling study. It will examine the social impact of poker machines and poker machine funding for charities, providing some much-needed insight on the market.

Gambling Participation Increases in Canterbury

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.