Despite the Covid-19 pandemic and several lockdowns, spending on gambling was up 17 per cent when compared to the previous financial year.
New Zealand.- The Department of Internal Affairs has revealed that New Zealanders spent NZ$2.63bn (US$1.81bn) on the four main types of gambling in the 2020/21 financial year. Spending was up 17 per cent when compared to the previous financial year, with spending on slot machines (known as ‘pokies’) outside casinos up 23 per cent to NZ$987m – the highest level in five years.
Internal affairs minister Jan Tinetti has announced a government review to target and reduce harm suffered by people who use slot machines.
Andree Froude, a spokesman for the Problem Gambling Foundation, welcomed the scrutiny but expressed concern about the rise in gambling spending.
Froude said: “It certainly shows that Kiwis returned to gambling after the lockdown restrictions ended, spending the equivalent of NZ$730 for every adult in the country. Over 60 per cent of pokie venues are situated in medium-high to very high deprivation areas so the money being lost is coming from people who can least afford to lose it.”
He said Class 4 pokies are the most harmful form of gambling with nearly 50 per cent of people seeking help for gambling citing pokies in pubs, clubs and TABs as their main form of gambling.