NZ’s Land Based Pokies Under Fire

Deanna Hammes - 03-09-2018

NZ’s Land Based Pokies Under FireEvery industry has its market-specific ups and downs. In the casino industry, it’s irresponsible gambling practices. Currently, it’s the region of Northland, New Zealand, that is under the loop for its extravagant spending habits.

An industry media page recently revealed that the country’s Maori and Pacific peoples are not only spending millions of dollars on land based Poker machines, but they are spending money that they simply do not have and getting themselves into enormous amounts of debt in the process. And unlike in the online gaming industry, there are not the controls, self-exclusion measures or focus on playing responsibly to pull players back in line.

A Constant Increase In Spending

Not only are New Zealand’s poorer communities cultivating dangerous spending habits, they are also in danger of developing problem gambling habits. According to figures released by the Department of Internal Affairs, the group’s unhealthy spending habits have increased considerably since 2017.

The group racked up a spending record of NZ$8.4 million during the second quarter of 2018 alone; a NZ$440,000 increase when compared to the same period in 2017. But even more concerning is the fact that the number of gaming outlets and machines were reduced considerably over the last year, in the Northern regions of the country. This indicates quite clearly that gambling activities are undergoing a steep increase in a region that has already been identified as being problematic.

According to the figures published by the abovementioned department, not only were the number of establishments reduced, but Pokies machines were cut from 630 down to 623. This paints a very troublesome picture indeed.

Dire Effects Felt By Players

One Northland resident in particular, discovered first-hand the detrimental effects of an unbalanced approach to gambling. The woman in question fell into the habit of spending in excess of NZ$1,000 on Pokies. The woman, who wishes to remain unnamed, has apparently been battling with an addiction to gambling her entire life, and recently opted to seek professional help in order to deal with her problem in healthier ways.

The player explained that the problem had evolved to such an extent that she had been prompted to borrow money from family and friends, in order to try and escape the unhealthy cycle that she had fallen prey to. Despite the fact that both the player and her husband held down full-time jobs, they remained unable to make ends meet as a result of the woman’s extravagant spending habits.