More time with whānau during Gambling Awareness Week

By Jessica Tyson

Today kicks off Gambling Harm Awareness Week and this year’s theme is encouraging people to take time out from gambling and put time into whānau.

Choice Not Chance is running the campaign and says research shows around 186,000 Kiwis are experiencing a level of gambling-related harm, often hidden from view.

“We're encouraging people to take time out from gambling and put time into whānau," say the campaigners.

“Taking time out for activities with loved ones, for example by going fishing or sharing kai, is a practical way to beat gambling harm.”

Events are being held around the country, including Pause the Pokies at The Landmark Bar in Panmure, Auckland.

To support the kaupapa, the bar venue has agreed to turn off their pokie machines for one hour today.

Whānau fun days, quizzes, movie nights and other events are also being held in Hamilton, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.

According to Choice Not Chance, harmful gambling can affect all aspects of a person's life, including their workplace.

“People who have harmful gambling behaviours may be stressed and distracted, making them unable to work to their full potential,” says the organisation.

Employers are also being encouraged to help their staff by:

  • Looking out for the early signs of gambling harm. These include trying to win back your losses, hiding gambling from others, or feeling guilty about gambling.
  • Inviting staff to take the easy two-minute quiz at to see whether their gambling is still just for fun.
  • Downloading the Gambling Harm Awareness Week Toolkit - for ideas to leverage national key messages.
  • Ordering free hardcopy brochures and workplace posters about gambling harm in various languages.
  • Keeping an eye on the Choice Not Chance website to see what's planned for 2018 and following its Facebook page for ways to get involved.

If you or someone you know needs help now, call the Gambling Helpline on 0800 654 654 or text them on 8006. It's free and available 24/7. In addition, you can refer people to FREE face-to-face counselling and support services in your local community.