During this week, events and activities will take place around the country that aim is to raise awareness in our communities about the harm from gambling, particularly pokie machines; the most harmful form of gambling. Although these events are fun, family events, they carry a serious message.
Harmful gambling impacts our whānau and our communities. An estimated 54,000 people in New Zealand are problem or moderate risk gamblers.
An estimated 37,000 people aged 15 years or older in New Zealand are at high risk of gambling harm or ‘problem gamblers’, about 47,000 are moderate risk and a further 106,000 are low-risk but will experience gambling-related harm during their lifetime. Every person with a gambling problem affects up to six other people.
It is a significant social issue that can’t be ignored.
The first Gamblefree Day was held on 1 September 2005.
Delegates at the CommUnity Action on Gambling Conference held in Hamilton in 2004 decided that a national gamblefree day would raise awareness about problem gambling in New Zealand.
The proposal, suggested by Paul Lavulo, of the National Pacific Gambling Project was endorsed by the delegates at the conference and Gamblefree Day has been an annual event on 1 September since 2005.
Community groups throughout New Zealand are encouraged to take direct action on the day. A co-ordinated national campaign will help ensure that the public are made aware of the harm pokies in our society cause.