Kiwi Public to Determine Gambling Ads Fate

Tia Winter | 6 September 2019

Recent reports indicate that the government and various charity organisations are going directly to the public for discussions on possibly banning certain services and products. Anti-gambling advocates have lately been calling on both the community and authorities to consider a total ban on betting advertising of any kind, or at least to start putting warnings on them.

What’s the Problem with These Ads?

There is currently a huge variety of advertising material for different wagering services that are available in New Zealand. According to those against casino games or sports betting of any kind, the problem with these ads is that they foster the idea that wagering is simply a different kind of entertainment, and one that could be profitable as well as fun. Some even go so far as to promote it as a good activity for the whole family.

Although it’s a fact that betting is an integral part of NZ culture, many advertisements promoting it are not explicitly identified as such. This means that some viewers may not register them as promotional even though they are encouraging potential players to take risks in order to win.

Recently there’s been a huge upsurge in wagering, with both general participation and problem rates rising considerably. A growing number of youngsters and even people underage are starting to be affected by gambling addiction.

Statistics Reveal NZ’s Issues

New Zealand’s Problem Gambling Foundation recently revealed that this country’s residents are registering losses of over NZ$2 billion, which was the number recorded in the fiscal year of 2016/17. Estimates by the foundation state that roughly 2% of Kiwis can be categorised as addicts, and the problem affects 6 other people, on average. This includes family members, friends, and other members of the community.

Research has found that betting causes 3X as much harm as drug abuse does, and 2.5X as much as diabetes does.

Those in favour of an outright ban on gambling have said that New Zealand casino operators have a history of employing psychological tricks to encourage people to spend more time and money. Some of the most typical casino features, like a lack of clocks or external windows, have helped operators to ensure customers lose track of time.

Subtler tactics are employed to promote Instant Kiwi, Lotto, and TAB services, with these advertisements normalising wagering and creating the idea that it’s simply another element of our culture. There is a call to see direct-to-consumer ads banned outright or customer access to these drastically reduced but ultimately, the public could now have the final say.