Thanks to class 4 gaming societies in New Zealand, every year the Ministry of Health gets around NZ$18.5 million in the form of a problem gambling levy to fund its Integrated Problem Gambling Strategy.
Intervention services are working well, according to the NZCT chief executive, Mike Knell, who said that a recent AUT study led by Professor Max Abbot tracked 462 Gambling Helpline callers and found that, after a year, three-quarters of them had quit or significantly reduced their gambling.
Therefore, Knell said: "To be sustainable, and to continue helping New Zealand communities, it’s essential we have effective problem gambling services which can support people who need help. Although New Zealand has one of the lowest problem gambling rates (0.3%) in the world, we know this addiction can have serious consequences for those affected."
In line with the anti-problem gambling initiative, there’s a new project now being trialled in land casinos in NZ, and Knell revealed that NZCT is trying out facial recognition software, developed by Hamilton-based company Positive Outlook, which recognizes excluded gamblers and turns off any machine they try to play.
"This software could be an exciting addition to the suite of problem gambling services available, because it puts the ambulance at the top of the cliff and stops excluded gamblers from using the machines at all.
"The software is still in the trial phase, but we are optimistic it will be successful. Its early days in the software’s development, but initial results are very encouraging," said Knell.