“Many see Lotto as some harmless fun, but for children and young people and even adults, it can be a gateway to problem gambling later in life. Gambling should be kept as a separate function so that parents have to specifically make a decision to spend money on Lotto, rather than making it as simple and normal as buying bread and milk,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ
“Unfortunately many families who are least able to afford it are the ones enticed to buy tickets. Greater accessibility, simplicity and stronger marketing will also draw children in to potential harm.”
A 2007 study found that one in every six New Zealanders knows someone in their household or wider family who has got into financial trouble through gambling. And a 2002/03 New Zealand Health Survey showed almost two thirds of problem gamblers lived in 40 per cent of New Zealand’s most socio-economically deprived areas.
“Problem gambling not only affects the individuals involved, but also their families – and ultimately society has to pick up the pieces. It’s time that we confronted the issue of gambling harm – especially in the most socio-economically deprived areas,” says Mr McCoskrie.
“A 2008 study outlined the socio-economic impact of gambling, stating that there are many tangible and intangible costs on health and wellness, including poor health or morbidity, stress, depression and anxiety, suicide or other premature mortality, substance abuse (alcohol, tobacco and illicit drugs related to gambling), and loss of value of time with family and friends.”
“This is not about banning Lotto per se. But it is about the importance of placement, and ensuring that children and vulnerable families are not drawn into the problem of gambling harm.”