According to a recent study, 7% of Pacifica children living in New Zealand had purchased a lottery ticket. The report drew attention to the fact that most lotto games have no age limit and raised concerns about how early exposure to gambling could affect young people.
Preventing gambling harm is a new government priority
New Zealand recently invested $75 million in a new gambling industry-focused harm prevention program. The government has declared problem gambling a vital public health issue and has set up services and extensive digital support. The new “Strategy to Prevent and Minimize Gambling Harm” focuses on communities most vulnerable to gambling harm, such as Maori, Pacific peoples and Asians. However, despite the government’s best intentions, they seem to have overlooked an important group: the country’s youth.
According to a study by the Gambling and Addictions Research Center at Auckland University of Technology, children could freely buy lotto, keno and Bullseye tickets. The study focused on 900 nine-year-old children of Pacifica descent living in New Zealand and found that 7% had engaged in gambling through the national lottery.
Young New Zealanders are particularly vulnerable
Maria Bellringer, director of the Gambling and Addictions Research Center, denounced the lack of an adequate age limit and noted that such early exposure to lottery products normalizes gambling behavior and can lead to addiction problems. long term.
Currently, anyone whoit is able to walk and talk could walk into a store and buy a lotto ticket and sell one to himself.
Maria Bellringer, Associate Professor at Auckland University of Technology
Bellringer’s New Zealand Youth Study also showed that 17% of Pacifica children in New Zealand had received an Instant Kiwi scratch card as a gift. The card is one of the few lottery products in the country restricted to people over the age of 18. However, surveys of mystery shoppers have revealed that many retailers do not enforce this practice.
Another study commissioned by the New Zealand Health Research Council of secondary school students found that 34% had gambled and 13% felt the need to reduce their gambling activity.
Lawmakers promised legislative changes
Lotto New Zealand chief executive Chris Lyman deflected accusations against the lottery and pointed out that children could buy tickets because the law allowed it. He added that the lottery alone could not impose an age limit without changing the law.
I would fully support an age restriction…I see no reason why anyone under 18 should buy our products. However, I don’t‘t have that power.
Chris Lyman, CEO of Lotto New Zealand
The New Zealand government has acknowledged that it is aware of this problem and is preparing measures to address it. Jan Tinetti, Home Secretary, agreed that child gambling was a cause for concern and reiterated the need for legislative changes. However, it appears that until the law is changed, young New Zealanders will be able to buy lottery tickets as they please.