Visit to highlight impact of gambling

New Zealand hip hop heavyweight Scribe is coming to Dunedin to share his personal struggle with pokies.

Malo Luafatu - aka Scribe - will visit the city next Friday as part of a national tour aimed at highlighting the impact of gambling harm.

The popular hip hop artist was addicted to pokies, playing almost every day and lying to his family about the extent of his problem.

"My journey with harmful gambling has led me to help other people in a similar situation. It's probably a bit ironic that being involved in this work is also helping me with my own addiction," he said.

Organised by the Dunedin Youth Gambling Coalition, the event, to be held in the Mayfair Theatre in South Dunedin, was a chance for people to meet Scribe, and listen to him talk about pokie addiction, spokesman Chris Watkins said.

There was also a chance for those wanting to perform a song, or poem, or read a story about gambling.

The free community event, from 10am to 2pm, was expected to be popular with young people, many of whom would be targeted by gambling sites through social networking sites such as Facebook, he said.

"The problem we have is we don't hear about a lot of youth having gambling problems."

But about $2 billion was spent in New Zealand each year on gambling, with an estimated 100,000 New Zealanders believed to gamble in a way that was considered seriously harmful.



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