29 Mar 2010

More funding wanted to deal with problem gambling among Pacific communities in NZ

4:43 am on 29 March 2010

An expert on problem gambling is calling for more funding of services to combat the issue among Pacific communities in New Zealand.

Dr Lana Perese, who completed a doctorate on gambling among Samoans, says her study revealed Pacific people are at high risk of developing an addiction and many spend a disproportionate amount of income on gambling.

She says most of those who ask for help are addicted to pokies in bars and clubs.

Dr Perese says it's a concern there are still just few service providers nationwide offering specific help to Pacific Island problem gamblers.

"Given the high prevalence, plus the fact that each individual problem gambler can affect up to seven to ten others, and that in itself being a conservative estimate in a collective cultural ethnic group or groups such as, like Pacific people in New Zealand, suggests that there are a lot more people impacted with very little Pacific specific funding related to that."

Dr Lana Perese says the allocation of more funding into researching Pacific health issues, such as problem gambling, is a step in the right direction.