It is reported that New Zealand’s (NZ) Government has set aside NZ$76.1m (£39m/€45.4m/USD$48m) to prevent and minimize gambling harm in its latest three-year integrated problem gambling strategy plan, which will run until 2025.
The NZ ministry of health concedes that the proportion of the population of the country, perceived to be at risk of gambling harm is at its lowest since the early 1990s. However since the adult population in the country has grown since then, it is a given that the number of people experiencing gambling related harm has also increased.
According to the Ministry, there are higher levels of exposure to gambling products and disproportionate levels of harm experienced by people living in areas with high social deprivation scores. Also there is a high possibility of a significant increase in online gambling today.
The Ministry is set to spend NZ$76.12m ($48.0m/£39.0m/€45.5m/N19.933b) on its strategic plan over the next three years from 2022-25, which will be an almost 25% increase ($15.8m/) from the prior period from 2019-22.
Strategy for the New Budget.
$34.2m will be earmarked for clinical intervention and support, while $24.8m will be set aside for public health services, $7.9m will be for new services and innovation, and $3.4m will be reserved for operating costs. However, funding for research and evaluation, will decrease by $971,000 compared to a budget of almost $6.6m previously.
According to the Minister of Health, the new funding and strategy will align the country’s gambling harm prevention and minimization efforts with the planned reforms to the health and disability system and the new mental health system being built.
He stated further that the Key strategic changes to be made will include strengthening partnership approaches to design and delivery of services, and increasing awareness and engagement for those at risk, with a greater focus on targeted public health initiatives, developed in collaboration with priority populations, particularly young people.
The Internal Affairs Minister also opined that to ensure effective regulation of gambling, issues with gambling harms; including financial problems, relationship problems, family violence, and alcohol abuse, will have to be factored in and dealt with. He stated that the new investment and strategy is about showing that they are serious about protecting New Zealand from these harms.”
According to the Ministry, The NZ government made it a priority to strategize, in order to prevent and minimize Gambling Harm, following public consultation in late 2021. Part of the strategy is to ensure that services are co-designed with people with lived experience of gambling harm, service providers, community groups and industry bodies.
This budget for the changes, will be funded by an increase in the levy on the country’s four identified gambling segments, notably NCGMs, Lotto NZ, TAB NZ and casinos. Gaming machine (NGCMs) operators will pay a levy rate of 1.08% of player expenditure compared to previously levied 0.78%, while casinos will move up from 0.56% of win to 0.87%. TAB NZ will pay 0.76% of betting profits as against previously levied 0.52%, Lotto NZ will move up from 0.43% of turnover less prizes paid to 0.44%.