Gambling hits poor hardest

NZ Herald December 11, 2007
One in every six New Zealanders knows someone in their household or wider family who has got into financial trouble through gambling. A nationwide “baseline” survey of 2000 people, conducted just before the start last March of a $3.9 million advertising campaign aimed at raising awareness of problem gambling, has also found that 9 per cent of New Zealanders admit to spending “more time and money gambling than I meant to” at least once in the previous year. Professor Max Abbott, of the Auckland University of Technology, who has led previous gambling surveys, said there had been no previous measures of the gambling fallout on society through questions such as whether someone in “your wider family or household” had had to “go without something they needed, or not paid some bills” because too much was spent on gambling. The result – 16 per cent said yes – was “higher than I would have thought”, he said. The survey confirms that the fallout is especially hard on low-income groups. Almost a quarter (23 per cent) of people in the poorest income areas said yes, compared with only 16 per cent of those in middle-income areas and 9 per cent in the richest areas. More than a third (38 per cent) of Maori knew someone in their household or wider family who had got into financial trouble by gambling, compared with 28 per cent of Pacific people, 13 of Asians and 12 of Europeans and others. 
READ Family First’s Submission to Select Committee on the Gambling Amendment Bill