Lack of Government Funding Forces Closure of Problem Gambling Service

December 18, 2023 | Gambling

NEW ZEALAND (December 18, 2023) — According to local media reports funding is ending for the Nelson Problem Gambling Service on December 31. The Services director Mathew McMillan is now not sure where to send clients.

According to news media website ‘Stuff‘ the Ministry of Health-funded service had allowed two employees to serve Nelson, Tasman and Marlborough since 2015.

Mr. McMillan said the service was effective, supporting people with gambling problems stemming from poker machines, the TAB, and online gambling.

I like it, it’s a cool job,” McMillan said. “You can support people to make changes really quickly, it’s really positive.”

But that good work was about to be undermined. “We have got the problem gambling service in a good place, and now we’re going back 20 years,” he said.

Mr. McMillan said he understood there was a possibility a small Māori-focused service would become available in Te Tauihu in the New Year. However, this would be available solely for Māori clients.

Funding for general gambling services now came from Te Whatu Ora.

Local news media website ‘Stuff‘ reported Te Whatu Ora’s Mentally Well director Jo Chiplin said there would continue to be gambling harm support available across the country, delivered face-to-face where possible, and remotely, she said.

Chiplin did not offer any specific information about services across Te Tauihu, or say why the changes had been made.

Te Whatu Ora is currently in the final stages of the procurement process for national gambling harm services. While this is underway, we are unable to comment further,” she said.

McMillan said centralising the service would mean losing the personal support that was important to his clients.

Nelson Problem Gambling Services also helped clients trigger multi-venue exclusion, when problem gamblers self-excluded from gambling venues, making it an offence for them to enter.

The intervention tool had an 80% success rate, and while it could be arranged online, this was often difficult for people in the throes of a crisis, McMillan said.

Anyone with concerns about their own gambling, or the gambling of someone in their whānau, could visit, free phone 0800 654 655, or text 8006 for support.

SOURCE: news media website ‘Stuff’.

Tags: , ,