This week the Department of Internal Affairs released the results of the "mystery shopper" audit of pokie venues. Casinos and smaller clubs and societies known as 'Class 4' venues were visited by actors trained to mimic problem gambling behaviour. The interactions with staff were evaluated to test venue compliance against regulatory requirements.
Australia leads by example in gambling harm reduction measures in the 2017 Budget. Hāpai Te Hauora and The Salvation Army urge Communications Minister Simon Bridges to consider similar regulatory interventions here.
Hāpai Te Hauora, supported by indigenous academics and public health experts, recently took a stand against the appropriation of Māori culture and the potential to cause harm through problem gambling.
In January 2017 Hāpai Te Hauora was alerted to the presence of an online gaming product called 'Maori' created by international software company Endorphina Ltd. The game includes images of tāne and wahine Māori, waka, pounamu, stylised bone carvings and a rendition of the haka Ka Mate.
Hāpai Te Hauora is deeply concerned to learn of a new online gambling site targeting Māori and using shameful cultural rip-offs.
Endorphina Games has launched an online slot game called 'Maori' using imagery which is blatant cultural appropriation including images of wahine and tāne Māori, pounamu and stylised bone carvings.
Endorphina, an online gaming company based in the Czech Republic, claims their game is a "celebration of cultural heritage" from New Zealand.
A recent television media interview for TVNZ's Seven Sharp was titled "Time to stop dimming the lights? Gaming rooms are designed to fuel addiction". University of Auckland Professor Peter Adams has specialist expertise in addiction, and he raised concerns about the potential of gaming environments in New Zealand to create and reinforce behaviour which leads to problem gambling.
A pan-continental collaboration of indigenous researchers including Hāpai Te Hauora will present at the National Association of Gambling Studies conference on indigenous gambling this week.
Every fortnight we will find the latest news stories relating to the key issue areas of Alcohol and Drug Harm, Tobacco Control, Problem Gambling, Nutrition and Physical Activity and Indigenous Health and the general health of Māori from around the world and right here in Aotearoa.
Hāpai Te Hauora, the voice for community action on the Minimisation and Prevention of Gambling Harm, are calling for decision makers to ensure money is returned to those communities who are contributing the most to pokie machines revenue. This will ensure communities with higher numbers of pokie machines are better resourced to combat the social issues created by the generating of funding for the nation.
For a long time, Otara has been involved in the movement in reducing and minimising gambling related harm and this event will look to strengthen the work that has already been achieved by the community. It will focuses on giving youth a space to be involved in supporting gambling harm awareness.