Taking care of our players
Most players who use our gaming machines enjoy the entertainment provided for them in a safe manner. However, for the small number of players who suffer harm from gambling, we're committed to upholding our host responsibility requirements and providing whatever help we can.
As the law requires, our venue managers are trained, where possible, to identify problem gamblers, and intervene and offer them appropriate assistance. A problem gambler is defined as a person “whose gambling causes harm or may cause harm” (Gambling Act 2003).
We also have a Harm Prevention and Minimisation Policy that defines our approach to harm minimisation.
You may or may not be an actual problem gambler, so please do not be offended if venue staff question you while playing on machines, over any aspect of your gambling behaviour. It will only be because they are acting in accordance with their legal duty.
OK to Play?
Problem gambling is a really complex problem. so finding some simple ways to make a difference and ensure our venues and their staff can fulfil their obligations has been a top priority.
We've put together some initiatives and tools to support staff to fulfil their responsibilities and take care of players, and to also remind players to be aware of their gambling behaviour and gamble responsibly. Our approach to tackle this shift is a two-pronged one – targeting both staff and players.
We’re asking staff to approach people on a very sensitive topic. At the same time, the vast majority of those who play gaming machines do so safely – and they want to be able to do so without having their leisure spending questioned.
Ultimately, to fulfil our responsibilities greater interaction between staff and players is needed so that they develop a relationship. With a relationship in place, it’s that much easier to tackle a sensitive topic. It also builds a greater awareness of what’s going on in the gaming room – who’s playing, how often etc. And of course, by getting to know the players, staff are better placed to notice any unusual behaviour.
Where staff have identified a potential issue, we’re looking at ways to help them approach players using the message ‘Is everything OK?’ It’s a non-confrontational way to open a conversation.
Tools aimed at players feature the phrase ‘OK to play?’. It’s an opportunity to remind players to play responsibly, and it encourages them to stop and think about whether their gambling is safe for them. Supporting messaging focuses on different signs of problem gambling, such as suggesting players set a limit for themselves, or reminding them that gaming is meant to be a fun form of entertainment – so if they’re not having fun, they might have a problem.
Knowing the signs
Do you or someone you know:
- Gamble more than you/they can really afford?
- Keep gambling to try and win back losses?
- Get into debt, borrow or steal to keep gambling?
- Feel stressed or agitated during or after gambling?
- Spend more time than you/they intended gambling?
- Gamble while under the influence of alcohol?
- Leave children alone while gambling?
- Ignore friends and family concerns over your/their gambling?
- Get argumentative with others because or your /their gambling?
If you answered yes to any of these, you or someone you know may well have a problem.
Understanding the odds
Poker machines are not designed to help players make money. They are there for entertainment. In New Zealand hotels and clubs, the machines are set to return between 78-92%. You might win occasionally, but if you keep playing you will almost certainly lose all the money you put in.
There are many people and organisations that can help you. The first to talk to are the staff at a venue hosting gaming machinces. They can give you information on where to get help if your gambling is becoming a problem. They can also help by excluding you from the venue.
Another place to get help is the Gambling Helpline.
Phone the Gambling Helpline on 0800 654 655 – It's private, it's confidential and it's free.