Problem gambling more prevalent in Maori & Pacific New Zealanders

    Problem gambling continues to be more prevalent in Maori and Pacific New Zealanders, than among New Zealanders as a whole, according to a Ministry of Health National Gambling Study.

    The research was conducted by Auckland University of Technology, between 2012 and 2013.

    According to the results from 2013, 1.6 percent of Maori were problem gamblers, compared to a 0.6 percent prevalence in Pacific people, 0.4 percent in Asian people and 0.3 percent in New Zealand European/other.

    The research identified a number of additional factors that put people at risk of becoming problem gamblers, including gambling frequency.

    According to the research, those who gambled more than ten times in a 12 month period were nearly sixteen times more likely to become a problem gambler than adults who gambled once over the same period.

    Other risk factors included high monthly gambling expenditure, participation in a wide variety of gambling activities, frequent use of electronic gaming machines, regular continuous gambling, gambling alone, avoiding places that offered gambling or betting, setting an expenditure limit before leaving home and psychological distress.

    The research also found out problem gambling re-lapse was common. “Over half of the estimated 8,000 new 2013 problem gamblers had experienced problems previously and were relapsing,” says Professor Max Abbott, Director of AUT’s Gambling and Addictions Research Centre. “This underscores the need for public education and prevention programmes that target both first-time onset and problem recurrence, in addition to relapse prevention treatment services.”

    Professor Abbott says the research provides valuable insights for effective policy setting.