The government and various charity organisations will soon appeal to the public to weigh in on the possibility of banning certain promotion of gambling services and products. Anti-gambling advocates have recently reached out to both the New Zealand public and authorities, urging them to consider a total ban on betting advertising of any kind. Alternatively, they have suggested that warning messages be considered.
Innocent Ads or subversive promotion?
There is a plethora of advertising material for different wagering services that are available in New Zealand and anti-gambling activists have expressed concern that the presentation of this material may be deliberately misleading.
According to those opposed to gambling, these ads create the impression that wagering is simply a different kind of entertainment. Further concerns expressed were that wagering is depicted as being potentially profitable and fun. Some ads even go so far as to promote it as a wholesome activity for the entire family.
Perhaps taking advantage of the fact that betting at Online casinos etc. is an integral part of NZ culture, many of the advertisements in question do not explicitly mention wagering as such. Concerning in this regard is that some viewers may not recognize them as promotional while being encouraged to take risks in order to win.
A significant upsurge in wagering has increased both general participation and problem rates. A growing number of young people, some underage, are being afflicted by gambling addiction.
Statistics paint a startling picture
The fiscal year of 2016/17 saw the country’s residents registering losses of over NZ$2 billion, according to New Zealand’s Problem Gambling Foundation.
Estimates by the foundation state that roughly 2% of Kiwis can be categorised as addicts, with their addiction affecting up to 6 other people on average. This includes family members, friends, and other members of the community.
Research studies indicate that gambling addiction may cause up to 3 times as much harm as drug abuse does.
Proponents of an outright ban on gambling have accused New Zealand casino operators of employing psychological manipulation to encourage people to spend more time and money at their establishments. Most typical casino, have a noticeable lack of clocks or external windows, designed to ensure that customers lose track of time.
Less overtly, Instant Kiwi, Lotto, and TAB services employ the use of advertisements that normalise wagering and depict it as simply another harmless element of New Zealand culture. There is a call to see direct-to-consumer ads banned outright or to have customer access to these drastically restricted. Whether or not these measures are introduced and to what extent, may now rest in the hands of the general public.