Minimising gambling harm

While many people gamble safely, a significant number of people are still being harmed by their own or someone else's gambling.

But there are some things we can all do to change this situation.

Our work increases awareness about gambling harms and supports communities to prevent and respond to harmful gambling.

What is HPA's goal?

HPA would like all New Zealanders to experience less gambling related harm.

Our work currently focuses on the following key areas:

  • Increasing the number of people at risk who check whether their gambling is okay.
  • Increasing the monitoring/reviewing of gambling behaviours.
  • Increasing early self-help/help-seeking behaviours by individuals and concerned others.
  • Increasing the implementation of harm minimisation practices in gambling venues.

Key activities include:

  • encouraging people to make positive behaviour changes through a national media campaign
  • supporting frontline gambling services to help implement national activities at the local level
  • developing research and evaluation to help inform programme development and the wider sector.

Find out more

To find out more about our work in this area check out

Nine facts about gambling

  • Every day New Zealanders lose $5.5 million on gambling. That is around $2 billion each year. Half of this, around $1 billion, is lost on pokie machines.
  • It is estimated that approximately 54,000 people in New Zealand are gambling at pretty harmful levels. In addition, almost 110,000 people are also experiencing some low levels of harm and would be potentially at risk of further problems in the future.
  • New Zealand has more than 18,000 non-casino pokie machines, each of which take in an average of $125 each day.
  • The 2006/07 New Zealand Health Survey reports that almost 3% of adults (87,000) had experienced problems due to someone’s gambling in the previous 12 months.
  • It is estimated that between five and 10 people are negatively affected by the behaviour of a serious problem gambler.
  • One in five New Zealanders feel that someone close to them has had a day or occasion in the past 12 months in which they've spent too much time or money on gambling.
  • Māori and Pacific adults are more than three and a half times more likely than adults in the total population to be problem gamblers.
  • Two out of five regular pokie players is likely to have a gambling problem.
  • The social costs of gambling are out of proportion to the numbers of problem gamblers. Gamblers may commit crimes to finance their gambling, causing harm to their victims and their families as well as themselves, and incurring costs in the criminal justice sector.