University of Otago psychology student Grant Kingi
practises the delivery of a poem that rails against the
destructiveness of problem gambling. Photo by Dan
A local gambling addiction counsellor is concerned that
more young Dunedin people than ever are being enticed into
playing slot machines by intrusive online gambling games.
Salvation Army Oasis Centre counsellor Chris Watkins said
games such as Slotomania, on Facebook, were encouraging
people into real gambling and slot machines.
Problem gamblers were coming to Oasis counsellors at a rate
of 20 to 25 a week and many of them had lost tens of
thousands of dollars.
''These people have lost everything ... and we know the
problem is a lot worse,'' Mr Watkins said.
One way of dealing with the problem was for problem gamblers
to voluntarily include their name on a list of people banned
from local gambling establishments.
About two people a week were doing that.
The issue of youth gambling would also be tackled in the
Choice Not Chance Local Legends Community Festival in Dunedin
Rapper Scribe will headline the festival that aims to
celebrate the creativity of Dunedin's young people and
increase awareness of gambling harm.
Mr Watkins said Scribe would perform live and share his own
Dunedin MC Beau Jeffries and other music, poetry and dance
acts would also perform, including part-time poet Grant Kingi
Mr Kingi, a University of Otago psychology student, said he
had not had a gambling problem himself but it had affected
his parents when he was growing up.
''People find it hard to find jobs and are looking to find
money in other means.
''It seems like they have no choice but to revert to
He said people should not feel ashamed and should get help if
they thought they had a problem.
The Choice Not Chance Local Legends Community Festival is on
next Friday, at the Glenroy Auditorium, in the Town Hall,
from 10am to 2pm.