Pokie Problem Gambling Solved

Pokie Problem Gambling Solved
Pokie Problem Gambling Solved

Is the pokie problem of gambling a growing issue?

Well, pokie problem gambling in New Zealand can be solved by taking measures to curb the addiction to pokies. Today, there is a sharp increase in the number of gamblers at online casinos. Do not worry. Online casinos allow players or punters to limit their spending at the pokies.

A coalition of The Salvation Army, Problem Gambling Foundation, and Māori health agency Hapai te Hauora has written a ‘white paper’ for Internal Affairs Minister Tracey Martin arguing that the Government could easily replace the annual $242m of pokie grants from its coffers.

Martin says there is $2.5m in the Budget for a review of the “wider gambling framework”, but that will initially tackle the unregulated online gambling market. She’s unlikely to heed radical calls for a complete shutdown – but could overhaul the system itself.

Causes of Problem Gambling

Problem gambling related to pokie machines can have devastating effects on individuals and their families. Understanding the underlying causes of this behaviour is crucial for developing effective prevention and intervention strategies.

In this article, we explore the various factors that contribute to pokie problem gambling, including psychological, social, and economic influences.

Psychological Factors

  1. Impulse Control Disorders: Individuals with impulse control disorders, such as compulsive gambling disorder, are more susceptible to pokie problem gambling. These disorders involve difficulties in resisting the urge to gamble, leading to frequent and excessive gambling behaviour.
  2. Addictive Behavior Patterns: Problem gambling on pokie machines can be driven by addictive behaviour patterns. The repetitive nature of pokie gameplay, combined with the thrill and anticipation of potential wins, can trigger the release of dopamine in the brain, reinforcing gambling behaviour and leading to a cycle of addiction.

Social Factors

  1. Peer Influence: Social factors, such as peer influence, can play a significant role in the development of pokie problem gambling. Individuals who are surrounded by friends or acquaintances who engage in excessive gambling are more likely to be influenced and encouraged to participate, leading to an increased risk of developing problem gambling behaviours.
  2. Accessibility to Pokie Machines: Easy access to pokie machines can contribute to the prevalence of problem gambling. The widespread availability of pokie machines in various venues, such as pubs and clubs, makes it convenient for individuals to engage in continuous gambling, increasing the likelihood of developing addictive gambling habits.

Economic Factors

  1. Financial Hardships: Financial difficulties and economic stressors can contribute to problem gambling on pokie machines. Individuals facing financial hardships may turn to gambling as a means of escaping their financial troubles or seeking a quick solution to their problems, ultimately exacerbating their financial struggles.
  2. High-Risk Gambling Environment: The presence of a high-risk gambling environment, where individuals are exposed to constant advertising and incentives to gamble, can increase the likelihood of problem gambling. Aggressive marketing strategies, attractive promotions, and enticing rewards create a climate that fosters excessive gambling behaviour.

A combination of psychological, social, and economic factors can influence pokie problem gambling. Impulse control disorders and addictive behaviour patterns contribute to the development of problem gambling on pokie machines, while social factors, such as peer influence and accessibility, play a significant role.

Additionally, economic factors like financial hardships and high-risk gambling environments further contribute to the prevalence of problem gambling.

By understanding these underlying causes, policymakers, support services, and individuals can work together to develop strategies to prevent and address pokie problem gambling, promoting healthier attitudes towards gambling and minimizing its harmful impacts on individuals and communities.

Suggested read: Why is Pokies Usage Decreasing in New Zealand?

Preventive Measures to Get Pokie Problem Gambling Solved

To address the challenges of problem gambling related to pokie machines, it is crucial to implement preventive measures that focus on public awareness, access restriction, and support services.

By taking proactive steps, we can work towards minimizing the risks and consequences associated with excessive gambling. The following strategies can be effective in mitigating the impact of pokie problem gambling:

Public Awareness Campaigns

  1. Education on the Risks and Consequences: Public awareness campaigns are vital in informing individuals about the potential risks and consequences of problem gambling. By providing clear and accurate information, these campaigns can raise awareness about the addictive nature of gambling and the potential adverse effects it can have on mental health, relationships, and finances.
  2. Promoting Responsible Gambling Habits: Responsible gambling habits must be promoted through public awareness campaigns. These campaigns should emphasize the importance of setting limits, managing finances responsibly, and practising self-control while engaging in gambling activities.

Restricting Access to Pokie Machines

  1. Limiting the Number of Pokie Machines Available: Controlling the availability of pokie machines is crucial in reducing the prevalence of problem gambling. Regulatory measures can be implemented to limit the number of machines in specific areas, ensuring that they are not excessively concentrated in vulnerable communities.
  2. Increasing Regulations on Their Placement: Strengthening regulations on the placement of pokie machines is another effective approach. By implementing guidelines and restrictions, authorities can ensure that pokie machines are not easily accessible in places where vulnerable individuals, such as schools or low-income areas, are more likely to be exposed to them. This helps to minimize the temptation and potential harm associated with excessive gambling.

Providing Support Services

  1. Establishing Helplines and Counseling Services: It is essential to establish dedicated helplines and counselling services to support individuals affected by problem gambling. These services provide confidential assistance, advice, and guidance to those struggling with gambling-related issues. Trained professionals can offer counselling, financial guidance, and strategies for managing gambling behaviour.
  2. Collaborating with Community Organizations: Collaborating with community organizations is instrumental in providing comprehensive support to individuals affected by problem gambling. These organizations can offer various services, including addiction support groups, mental health resources, and community outreach programs. This collaboration helps create a network of support that addresses the broader needs of individuals and promotes recovery.

By implementing these preventive measures, we can make significant progress in addressing the challenges of problem gambling related to pokie machines.

Through public awareness campaigns, access restrictions, and support services, we can create a safer gambling environment and minimize the negative impacts of excessive gambling on individuals and communities.

The Camera was the Option in 2012 to Check Problem Gambling

Pokie problem solved
CAUGHT ON CAMERA: Paul Andrew said if the system is good enough for Customs, it is good enough for gaming. Image Source: Stuff NZ

This is the question many are asking after a new gadget hit the tech field in 2012. It’s a gadget many who work as border guards in the airports will know of, but it seems they are making their way to a pokie place near you!

So, what gadget are we talking about? Well, it’s a camera and it’s as simple as that. This camera holds facial recognition software and is used by border agencies to monitor people coming into the country and to pick up wanted felons.

For problem gambling, the camera can be used to check against a database of known problem gamblers and not allow them to play as the pokie will shut down for this player. This innovative idea will solve two problems: problem gambling and the horrendous cost of monitoring problem gambling, as there is no human intervention in this system.

Related read: Face recognition software installed at Gisborne nearby casinos for self-excluded players

The camera is good for customers as well as the gaming industry

Paul Andrew, who works for Designers Gaming Inc. and who was part of the initiative, said, “We thought, ‘If it is good enough for Customers, then it is surely good enough for the gaming industry,'”

Even the government and problem gambling trusts have seen this as a unique and interesting concept that will support ridding the country of problem gambling.

Martin Cheer, of one charity, said:

“It’s the future—the best solution I’ve seen. This is the only system that doesn’t rely on a human element and can ensure people are excluded from every gaming room in the country.”

“think it does solve a lot of the problems facing the industry,”

With pokies seen as evil by some because of the small minority of problem gamblers, this could be the initiative to solve many ills.

Measures to Limit Problem Gambling

Problem gambling in New Zealand
Measures to limit problem gambling

A key intention of the Gambling Act 2003 is controlling the growth of gambling and preventing and minimizing the harm caused by gambling.

To support this, the Gambling (Harm Prevention and Minimisation) Regulations, last amended in March 2015, contain a range of measures including:

  • Restrictions on venues suitable for operating gaming machines
  • No automated teller machines (ATMs) are allowed in the gambling area of a venue.
  • Maximum stake and prize limits for gaming machines
  • A feature on each gaming machine that interrupts play at intervals of not more than 30 minutes of continuous play (the messages display information about the duration of play, amount of money spent and net wins or losses)
  • Restrictions on jackpot branding and advertising
  • Requirement to give venue staff problem gambling awareness training
  • Requirement to make information about problem gambling available to patrons
  • The ability for venue staff to issue exclusion orders to patrons

Gamblers can also request a Multi Venue Exclusion if they want to be excluded from more than one gambling venue.

Problem Gambling Awareness Training

How to stay safe from online Problem Gambling?
How to stay safe from online Problem Gambling?

The Gambling (Harm Prevention and Minimisation) Regulations 2004 require that Class 4 license holders provide problem gambling awareness training to the venue manager and any other staff to ensure there is always a trained person at the venue whenever the pokies are available.

It is a leading practice that training is available to all staff members who have regular contact with gamblers.

A person who is trained should be able to identify signs of problem gambling and know how to approach a gambler who is experiencing harm.

The Gamble Host Pack contains useful resources to help operators and staff with problem gambling awareness training. It includes a clear checklist of the most common signs of problem gambling and tips on how staff can interact with gamblers they’re concerned about.

The Department can also help operators by providing information about problem gambling awareness training for staff and the legal harm prevention and minimization requirements.

If you’d like more information, please contact the Gambling Group. Also, all pubs and clubs with gaming machines and casinos must have problem gambling pamphlets and signs in their venues.

What are the Support Services for Problem Gamblers?

What are the support services for problem gamblers
What are the support services for problem gamblers?

Self-Exclusion Orders: If you think you, or someone you know, may have a gambling problem, you may like to consider self-excluding (or talking to your relative/friend about self-excluding) from a gambling venue(s). Self-exclusion means that if a patron identifies him or herself as a problem gambler, they can ask a gambling venue(s) to exclude them from the gambling area of the venue(s) for a period of up to two years.

Multi Venue Exclusion: Multiple Venue Exclusion (MVE) extends single-venue self-exclusion. It allows gamblers to self-exclude from multiple venues without visiting each site. MVE has been an intervention tool in New Zealand since 2004, and since then, it has evolved and expanded to most parts of the country.

A Multi Venue Exclusion is generally initiated by a problem gambling service provider on behalf of a client who has opted to self-exclude from the gambling venues of their choice.

If a gambler requests self-exclusion at a venue, the manager must immediately exclude the individual. It should help them contact the local MVE coordinator and exclude that gambler from their venue.

After the initiation of the exclusion process, it becomes a criminal offence. If you breach an exclusion order, you may face a fine of up to $500 (Section 312, Gambling Act 2003).

Failure by a venue manager to prevent an excluded person from entering the gambling area or removing them is also a criminal offence. The penalty for venue managers or someone acting on their behalf is a maximum fine of $5,000.

To avoid a conviction, venue staff need to prove the following:

Suitable harm minimization procedures and measures were in place, and

It implements the procedures and measures.

The Ministry of Health (the Ministry) and the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) are involved with MVE. The agencies’ mandates mean the Ministry takes the lead regarding the gambling harm prevention and minimization component, while the DIA takes the lead regarding regulatory (compliance) issues.

If you think you or someone you know may have a gambling problem, talking to someone can help. Find a problem gambling service near you.

Contact details for problem gambling services around the country (www.health.govt.nz)

How to Stay Safe from Online Problem Gambling?

RNG and Pokies -Do Pokies Play a Number Game
How to stay safe from online Problem Gambling?

Online gambling is a growing activity in the world. Unlike local gambling outlets, New Zealand has no laws that protect us from gambling products
created overseas and available to you online. There is no guarantee that you will get your money out once you have put
it in; there is no guarantee that you are playing with a real person, and the algorithms are for the site owners to make a profit. Although some sites offer the ability to self-exclude from the gambling site, these are not always possible and do not prevent push notifications to your devices.

Below are some tips on what you can do to keep safe online:

  • Gamban is an easy-to-use app. It blocks online gambling on all of your devices, offering a secure, reliable, and affordable option to stay away from
    gambling sites and apps.
  • BetBlocker is a free tool to help control your gambling. Install it on as many devices as you like, and it will block access to over 12,000 gambling websites.
  • At online casinos in NZ, you can set your budget to play pokies. You can set the limit of the amount that you wish to spend at an online casino. Generally, this is available when you first log in to your new online casino account.
  • Play pokies sensibly and wisely. Don’t spend beyond your set limits when you play at online casinos.


Addressing the issue of problem gambling, including pokie-related gambling, requires a comprehensive and ongoing approach. Through public awareness campaigns, access restrictions, and support networks, we can strive to minimize the negative impacts of problem gambling on individuals and communities.

By instilling responsible gambling habits, promoting education, and offering assistance to those in need, we can work towards creating a safer and healthier gambling environment for all.

Policymakers, industry stakeholders, and society as a whole need to continue working together to address problem gambling and provide help and support for those affected.

Mamta Sharma

Mamta is a spirited writer hailing from Wellington, bringing a youthful zest to the world of digital content. Merging her love for narrative with an eye for detail, Ella crafts stories that resonate and engage the modern reader.