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

  1. Every day New Zealanders lose $6.4 million on gambling. That is around $2.3 billion each year. Around $870 million is lost on pokie machines in pubs and clubs each year.
  2. Around 186,000 people in New Zealand are personally affected by gambling harm. Sixty-one thousand people are gambling with moderate or more serious levels of harm; equivalent to the entire population of Rotorua. A further 125,000 people are likely to be experiencing at least some level of harm (and are at-risk of more severe harm in the future); equivalent to the population of Dunedin.
  3. People who regularly bet on pokies, sports or racing are most at risk:
    • 1 in 2 (49%) who use pokies at least monthly are likely to be experiencing a level of harm.
    • 1 in 4 people (26%) who bet on sports or racing at least monthly are likely to be experiencing a level of harm.
  4. Around 1 in 10 people who buy Lotteries Commission products at least monthly are likely to be experiencing a level of harm.
  5. New Zealand has 15,490 non-casino pokie machines. On average, each machine takes $55,655 per year.
  6. Māori, Pacific and Asian gamblers are disproportionately affected by gambling harm. 1 in 7 Māori and Pacific people and 1 in 9 Asian people who have gambled in the past year are likely to be experiencing a level of harm.
    By comparison, 1 in 22 NZ European/Pakeha people who have gambled in the last year are likely to be experiencing a level harm.
  7. Gambling harm can negatively impact finances, damage relationships, disrupt work and study, and lead to emotional and psychological distress.
  8. Friends and whānau are commonly affected. 1 in 5 New Zealand adults (22%) have been affected at some time in their lives by their own gambling or the gambling of others.
  9. About 1 in 16 New Zealand adults (214,000 people) reported experiencing at least one form of household-level gambling harm in the last 12 months. (This includes ‘having an argument about time or money spent on gambling’, ‘going without’ or ‘bills not being paid because too much money was spent on gambling by another person’).