Gambling Studies Assess NZ Player Behaviour

Deanna Hammes - 13-08-2018

NZ Players BehaviourOn Monday, August 6, a New Zealand National Gambling Study report revealed that levels of gambling-related harm have remained all but unchanged on the island nation. The news comes despite the fact that participation rates among Kiwis have actually declined at the same time, and that leading online casinos all promote responsible gaming and feature tools that can be used to help those with problems.

The NGS study, which is a comprehensive, long-term piece of research on the harms of gambling, was conducted by the Auckland University of Technology. The project also received funding from the NZ Ministry of Health.

Gaming Participation Rates Fall

According to Professor Max Abbott, the Director of the Gambling and Addictions Research Centre, participation rates among locals actually fell by 5% over the past three years, down from 80% in 2012 to 75% in 2015 – and even lower today. According to the professor, participation rates fell across most betting activities, including casino games and electronic gaming terminals.

However, in spite of this decrease, problem gambling rates in New Zealand have neither increased nor decreased during the period under review. Obviously, the harm caused by these activities is still a major nationwide concern, and the results of the study have demonstrated that new measures need to be put in place in order to produce tangible changes in this pattern.

Back in 2015, around 2% of New Zealand adults were classified as addicts or moderate risk gamblers. Another 5% was dubbed to be at a lower level of related risk, although it is important to note that they were still placed in a risk category regardless.

Professor Calls for eGaming Ban

The information supplied by the researchers and their study demonstrated that there were no changes in the problem and at-risk gambling rates over the study’s first three years, but there were some notable changes when it came to individual rates of related harm. In any year, only around 40,000 Kiwis (1% of the national population) become problem gamblers. However, in the year after, a massive 40% of addicts still have actively indulged addictions, and are still being impacted by negative consequences associated with their habits.

According to the NGS and Professor Abbott, instant Kiwi and iGaming opportunities have certainly contributed to a rise in local problem gambling rates. The study also showed that these games could prompt relapses, especially in economically challenged regions. Reportedly, an increase in population coupled with a high concentration of high-risk communities being exposed to gaming machines has caused an overall rise in harm rates in the nation.

The study’s findings are currently being considered by local regulators in an attempt to improve public policies, education and addiction treatment protocols. According to Professor Abbott, however, all electronic gaming machines should be removed from clubs and pubs nationwide in order for the problem to truly be addressed.

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