Problem Gambling Resources for New Zealanders

Problem gambling resources for New Zealanders
Last Updated on | by Pavo Jurkic

Let’s make one thing clear right off the bat – problem gambling has to be taken seriously. Untreated problem gambling that ends up going too far paves the way for full-scale gambling addiction which is known for wreaking havoc in people’s lives.

According to my experience, problem gambling and addiction risks are the biggest issues associated with gambling at real money casinos worldwide in 2024. If you’re not that familiar with the subject, you’re at the right place. Seeking help is an essential step in the right direction for everyone battling problem gambling, and I’m going to show you all the key organisations for Kiwi residents.

Understanding Problem Gambling

NZ politicians continuously focus on the gambling problem and offer all types of solutions. The problem is – not many politicians understand what exactly they’re talking about. All they know is that gambling in NZ is a massive market. According to official government figures, 2022/23 gambling activity in New Zealand amounted to $2.385 billion.

That’s right, NZ gamblers lost close to $2.4 billion in this period. Experts have estimated that roughly 10% of New Zealand’s population took part in online gambling activities in 2018. That’s over half a million people, to be more precise. And, mind you, these numbers date back 6 years (the real numbers ought to be much bigger). The biggest issue is – roughly 25% of the total number has negative experience of problem gambling and it isn’t going to go away on its own, that’s for sure!

Global Problem Gambling Organisations Available for NZ Residents

One of the most common questions we get is how to help someone with a gambling problem, and we always do our best to point people in the right direction. Gambler’s Anonymous is often the best option to kick things off. More details and locations can be found right below:

Gamblers Anonymous

Gamblers Anonymous doesn’t need much of an intro. We are talking about a global organisation that offers services to problematic gamblers worldwide. In short, it is a fellowship of people who continue to share their experiences regarding gambling addiction and work with each other to escape their cravings. The first step toward recovery is admitting you have a problem. That’s what Gamblers Anonymous emphasises as the vital part of the recovery process. Best of all, there are numerous GA meetings in New Zealand. More information can be found below:

Group Meeting for New Zealanders

When Where
Monday, 7:30 PM Lifepoint Church, 61 Hopper Street, Mount Cook (Wellington)
Monday, 10:30 AM Citizens Advice Bureau Building, 169 Bank Street (Whangarei)
Tuesday, 7:30 PM Maranatha House, 1 Pollen Street, Grey Lynn (Auckland)
Tuesday, 7:00 PM Oasis Centre, 126 Bealey Avenue (Christchurch)
Wednesday, 6:00 PM Catholic Services, 42 MacAndrew Road, Bart Winters Room (Dunedin)
Wednesday, 7:00 PM Thames Community Centre, 609 Mackay street (Thames)

Local Gambling Recovery Resources

New Zealand’s government is no stranger to the terrible problematic gambling stats in the country. That’s why it runs numerous programs and funds services that aim to help problem gamblers curb their habits and take control of their finances. You can find the best local gambling recovery resources and services right below.

Problem Gambling Foundation

No matter how deep you are in the world of problem gambling, the Problem Gambling Foundation could be of service. It’s characterised by individual and confidential support for people affected by problematic gambling habits. If you or someone you know continues to struggle with online pokies, don’t hesitate to reach out to the PGF either via email, SMS, phone, or even online chat. It’s best the Problematic Gambling Foundation could be the first step you need to take toward full recovery.

Email Phone
help@pgf.nz 0800 664 262

The Salvation Army (Oasis)

The Salvation Army has been around since 1883. Needless to say, it’s not your regular army. It’s a community-driven army that has been dealing with all sorts of social issues across New Zealand and surrounding territories. These good folks have been battling with poverty, social distress, spiritual distress, alcohol, drugs, and gambling. Nowadays, The Salvation Army has two basic programs – Bridge and Oasis. Bridge offers help for folks struggling with alcohol and drug support. Oasis, on the other hand, is catered toward folks struggling with gambling addiction.

Phone General Email
0800 53 00 00 sef@salvationarmy.org.nz

Safer Gambling

Safer Gambling is another community-focused organisation which aims to familiarise gambles with the real threats of gambling. Some of the key talking points and resources you can find on the websites are related to the following:

  • Staying in control
  • How much are you spending?
  • How do pokies work?
  • Gaming vs Gambling
  • How much is too much?

Besides helpful resources, Safer Gambling also provides help and support either via phone, email, or face-to-face. If you’re struggling with gambling addiction, reach out to Safer Gambling and take back control!

Gambling Helpline

If you’re from NZ, you might have already heard about the Gambling Helpline. It’s a national support organisation that offers 24/7 phone support to problem gamblers. Best of all, it’s completely free of charge, meaning you can take control of your gambling habits quickly and without spending another dime. Based on our experience, the Gambling Helpline offers four types of services at the moment:

  • Maori Gambling Helpline
  • Pasifika Gambling Helpline
  • Debt Gambling Helpline
  • Youth Gambling Helpline

No matter how deep you’re into the vicious cycle of online gambling, reach out to the Gambling Helpline and start working on getting your finances back in order.

Te Rangihaeata Oranga – Gambling Recovery Service

Te Rangihaeata Oranga AKA Gambling Recovery Service (HB) is another government-funded service meant for folks who find themselves struggling with gambling addiction. The Hawke’s Bay Gambling service offers professional help to problematic gamblers with the hope of ensuring full recovery to those in need. They have a strong emphasis on the Hawke’s Bay Region, work with popular responsible gambling tools like GamBan, and provide help to problem gamblers at every step of the recovery process.

Phone Adress
08000422947 210 Lyndon Road West, Hastings 4122

Mapu Maia – Pacific Counselling

Mapu Maia is not to be taken for granted either! It aims to help people with whatever issues they might be facing and wherever they feel the most comfortable. This means problem gamblers can schedule counselling at the Mapu Maia offices in Manukau, Auckland or virtually anywhere else in the proximity. Yes, even in the comfort of their own home. Best of all, Mapu Maia provides support in Tongan, Samoan and English. Plus, its holistic services are free and always 100% confidential. If you’re not sure where to kick things off, don’t hesitate to contact Mapu Maia either via email or phone.

Email Phone Office
help@mapumaia.nz 0800 21 21 22 Ground Floor​, 15 Jack Conway Avenue, Manukau, Auckland 2104

Tips for Seeking Help and Support

Let’s also go through the key principles of coming to terms with your problem gambling habits, the fastest way to get things going, and the best methods of solving individual issues. Let’s kick things off with the obvious; acknowledging the problem.

  • Acknowledge the Problem

    In our experience, boredom and stress are the two most common reasons for gambling addiction in people nowadays. We know it sounds like a cliche, but the first step of the recovery process is acknowledging your gambling habits are out of control. The sooner you admit you have a problem, the sooner you’ll be able to start working on the solution.

  • Reach Out to Supportive Individuals

    The first step toward dealing with problem gambling is admitting you have a problem and talking with your loved ones. No matter how critical or non-critical they might have been about your gambling habits, chances are they’ll offer support and help you make the decision to help yourself and stop gambling for good.

  • Contact Helplines and Support Groups

    If you find yourself struggling more and more with each passing day/week/month, it means time is of the essence and you should seek support groups and other forms of gambling help as soon as possible. If nothing works out, you’ll have to seek professional counselling. More on that coming right up!

  • Seek Professional Counselling

    If none of the above work out for you, take our advice and seek professional counselling as soon as possible. Supportive individuals and helplines make for a good first step. But, after admitting you do have a problem, the best way to start working on the solution is with a professional.

  • Set Limits and Utilise Responsible Gambling Tools

    Even though it seems way too simple to be effective at first, setting limits and utilising responsible gambling tools will get you quite far. It might not be a one-stop ticket to solving gambling addiction, but it could definitely give you the initial boost you need to make a proper leap in the right direction.

  • Avoid Triggers and Temptations

    If you’re serious about quitting gambling for good, you’ll need to do your best to avoid any and all triggers and temptations that get in your way. The most common ones, like stress, loneliness, and boredom aren’t associated with casinos or have any direct correlation with gambling, which makes them particularly difficult to avoid.

Gambling Harm Support Services for Kiwis: FAQ

  • What is problem gambling, and how common is it in New Zealand?

    Problem gambling is the inability of gamblers to curb their gambling habits and enforce proper control over their finances. According to some estimates, roughly 10% of the total NZ population plays online pokies, and a quarter of them have experienced (or are currently experiencing) problem gambling. That’s roughly 100,000 people, mind you.

  • Are problem gambling resources in New Zealand confidential?

    Yes, they are. Gambling addiction is a serious issue that can greatly impact a person’s life and relationships. In our experience, organisations that treat problem gambling typically enforce strict confidentiality rules.

  • Is it possible to treat problem gambling?

    Yes, it is. However, it’s not as simple as many of you might think. Problematic addiction is just like any other addiction out there – you have to decide enough is enough and seek professional help. Only a small portion of people are capable of working it out on their own. For the vast majority, professional therapy is necessary.

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