The government of New Zealand has outlined what it lauds as “the most significant investment to address gambling harm in 20 years,” via an increased NZ$76.12m strategy that will be implemented over the next three years.
This enhanced service programme, which will run from 2022/23 to 2024/25, is designed to represent the Labour government’s commitment to addressing gambling harm and associated health inequities.
The cost represents an increase of $15.78m from the last levy period, which ran from 2019/20 to 2021/22, that will be recouped by a levy paid by non-casino gaming machine operators, casinos, the TAB NZ and New Zealand Lotteries Commission.
“Gambling harm is a serious public health issue and can have a devastating effect on the wellbeing of individuals, whānau and communities,” stated Andrew Little, New Zealand Minister for Health.
“One in five New Zealanders will experience gambling harm in their lives, or know someone close who does.”
Adding: “The new funding and strategy aligns our gambling harm prevention and minimisation efforts with the reforms to the health and disability system and the new mental health system we’re building.”
The Strategy to Prevent and Minimise Gambling Harm will include a series of education initiatives to reduce harm to young individuals, as well as de-stigmatisation initiatives in a bid to help change the conversation around gambling harm and encourage people to seek help.
A series of new and expanded digital services and supports will also be rolled-out, with training pathways to enable a more skilled and diverse workforce, including more peer and cultural support workers, detailed; alongside better support for vulnerable communities.
“Effective regulation of gambling means we can deal with harms including financial problems, relationship problems, family violence, and alcohol abuse,” commented Jan Tinetti, Internal Affairs Minister.
“The new investment and strategy is about showing we’re serious about protecting New Zealand from these harms.
“The Strategy to Prevent and Minimise Gambling Harm was developed following public consultation in late 2021 and will ensure that services are co-designed with people with lived experience of gambling harm, service providers, community groups and industry bodies.”