Playing at online casinos in New Zealand is, without a doubt, fun but still risky. You’re playing with real money, which in turn has an impact on real life. Even if you’re taking punts on rugby or playing pokies from time to time, it must be in a safe space. This means having the right resources and applying the right steps.
There are many useful hotline numbers and websites you can use to reach out for help. We’ll list some of the most notable ones, along with links to their respective websites.
The foremost national organization for anti-gambling purposes, Gambling Helpline offers several completely free hotlines, each with a specific purpose:
- Māori Gambling Helpline (0800 654 656, 24/7) — offers assistance from professional Māori counsellors and is open to both problem gamblers and those affected by others’ addictions
- Pasifika Gambling Helpline (0800 654 657, 24/7) — support and advice on the topic of gambling for everyone in the Pacific communities by Pacific Islander counsellors
- Debt Gambling Helpline (0800 654 658, 24/7) — special helpline that offers debt counselling, money management services and assistance in maintaining a self-monitoring system of spending
- Youth Gambling Helpline (0800 654 659, 24/7) — Kiwis of all ages can call and ask for assistance in mitigating risk and getting additional help
You can call 0800 654 655 for a more general helpline, or text 8006 from an NZ phone number. The organization’s counsellors will provide you with information, advice and pointers on what to do next. Safe Gambling Aotearoa also has a blog, as well as additional educational materials.
- Free hotline: 0800 664 262
- Text: 5819
- Email: [email protected]
The PGF also allows problem gamblers and those around them to contact them via live chat. In addition to the main PDF branch, NZ players also have access to PGF Counselling Services, Asian Family Services, and Mapu Maia (Pacific services). All calls are free.
Players can also contact New Zealand’s only legal sports betting provider by sending them an email at [email protected]. They will provide you with additional advice on how to proceed, in addition to a quiz to determine the severity of the issue.
Call 0800 53 00 00 for general information and help to pertain to problem gambling. Check out their website for specific centres and their contact information.
Like all addictions, it’s hard to tell when problem gambling actually starts. Contrary to popular belief, most people suffering from this don’t display signs obvious to those around them. However, one can determine the level of severity by looking for the following signs in their own behaviour. If you:
- Have gambling-related debts
- Continue playing despite closing accounts before
- Get affected by wins and losses on an emotional level
- Deposit savings meant for other purposes
- See your job, school, family life, relationships and obligations trending downwards
- Borrow money to fund your wager
- Lie about how much you play or spend
- Feel anxious and irritable when not playing
Then, it’s very likely that you’re either in the risk zone or you’ve already slipped into gambling addiction. For all assessments, always talk to an expert on one of the helplines we’ve provided above. These people are trained professionals and are licensed to deal with this issue. Don’t worry, you’re in good hands.
Prevention is by far the best method of battling problem gambling. If you want to stay in control and curb any risky behaviours, apply these tips.
- Don’t go over your budget. When you set an amount of money to spend, don’t exceed it no matter what. Even if you’ve won more than you expected, when you’ve wagered what you planned, just stop.
- Use self-exclusion tools. Everyone has a bad stretch, and chasing losses can be tempting. Instead of jumping in, take a break by excluding yourself for some time.
- Be honest with those around you. Online gambling is supposed to be fun as long as it’s in moderation. Keep yourself in check by honestly telling your family and friends how much you spend.
- Set time limits. Many NZ bookmakers and online casinos allow you to put a cap on how much time you can spend in-game betting. In addition, some of them send alerts every 15-30 minutes.