Gambling, harm and health: Two perspectives on ways to minimise harm and maximise health with regard to gambling in New Zealand

Abstract

The proposed policy is designed to minimise harm and retain the benefits of gambling by promoting responsible gambling at a level that is economically and socially sustainable for individuals, communities, and New Zealand. In outlining this Policy on Responsible Gambling for Government our aim is not to prevent gambling, nor to reduce the enjoyment experienced by those who gamble responsibly but rather to minimise the harm that is associated with problem gambling, and thereby to set the scene for a level of gambling in New Zealand that is both economically and socially sustainable. Development of any social policy must be underpinned by a number of important principles relating to social justice and effectiveness. The objectives proposed for the first five years of the national policy on responsible gambling are: 1. To enable New Zealanders to increase control over and improve their well being by limiting the harms and hazards associated with gambling. 2. To reduce the prevalence of problem and pathological gambling. 3. To reduce the health risks, crime and economic and social disruption associated with excessive gambling by promoting responsible gambling. We believe that Government carries the primary responsibility for development and implementation of a responsible gambling policy, for two reasons: First, ultimately any social policy response is shaped by an enabling and controlling legislative framework and only government can establish this framework. Secondly, Government has a responsibility to protect and act in the best interests of its citizens, hence it is appropriate that Government take the initiative in establishing the Social Policy Response framework and for ensuring its implementation

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