Gambling Harm Awareness Week (GHAW) kicks off today, providing an opportunity for increased awareness of problem gambling in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Hāpai Te Hauora, alongside other Auckland based problem gambling services including the Problem Gambling Foundation, Mapu Maia, South Seas, Asian Family Services and Raukura Hauora o Tainui will be working alongside SKYCITY Auckland Casino, the largest gambling venue in the country, to raise awareness and provide on site support for those gambling.

An information stall will be staffed by various service representatives will be set up inside the casino between the hours of 11am-11pm from September 3rd to September 7th. The providers will be able to give information to, and take bookings from, any interested person.

The theme for GHAW this year, "Take time out from gambling, put time into whānau," is depicted in the objective of this initiative to provide broad and culturally appropriate services throughout the week.

As Māori, Pacific and Asian communities continue to be overrepresented in problem gambling statistics, this presents a unique opportunity for problem gambling services to present a united front, while catering to the needs of their respective demographics or their "extended whānau". This supports the view long held by Hāpai, that targeted and culturally appropriate pathways are essential in enabling connection between audience and service provider.

Citing the very real harms that problem gambling can cause an individual and their wider whānau, Hapai Te Hauora and the collective are looking to explore all avenues to engage with as many people as possible over the week.

Engaging with SKYCITY Casino in this instance is exactly that, a foot in the door or a step closer to reaching those whānau members who may not be aware of the various providers they can contact for support.

If you are interested in seeking help for yourself or a family member in regards to problem gambling, please get in contact with us or the most appropriate services for your needs.