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New Migrants Become Addicted to Gambling in NZ

Published on May 14, 2015, 7:41 am

by Jeff Grant Twitter account Jeff Grant LinkedIn account

According to gambling experts, new migrants in New Zealand are increasingly getting addicted to gambling, with some of them realizing a loss of their complete savings throughout life.

Experts are of the notion that these migrants are being highly targeted by casinos, since they are highly vulnerable. They come to the country with all the cash that they received after selling up in hand.

For an instance, one of the residents, who arrived in New Zealand as a student in 2001, revealed that he was an addict of gambling. His addiction aroused while he was in China. However, gambling in China had strict rules and it was more of an underground sports betting.

New Zealand had a completely different gambling picture, said he. The rules were different to allow him to officially play over the night on the pokies. He grew and visited casinos to gamble for almost eight hours in one go. Thereafter, he went back home, relaxed, slept and headed again to the casino to gamble for yet another eight hours, which was huge.

He affirmed that it was almost like every day after school. I regularly visited the pokie bars. Some of them closed at midnight, which did not stop him from playing. Rather, he, in that case, preferred going to another one which run round the clock.

He further added that he had to ask for money from his parents on a regular basis. But, this money somehow vanished into machines. This made him lose around $1000 in a week to later ask for the same from friends. He had to have irregular meals in the wake of the same. Since, not always does gambling ensure you a victory.

According to Auckland’s Asian Family Services Group’s director, John Wong, this NZ resident was not alone. Far too many people had lost a lot, including their homes, due to gambling.

Auckland’s Asian Family Services Group’s director, John Wong, with a volunteer
Auckland’s Asian Family Services Group’s director, John Wong (at the left), with a volunteer

A housewife told how she had no idea how their house was just gone. She told that their bank account went bare and they still did not have any knowledge about it.

A number of Chinese people have been migrating to New Zealand. Census data revealed that the number rose significantly between 2001 and 2013 from 100,000 to 170, 000. Besides, the count of Vietnamese immigrants increased twice in 2013 as that noted in 2001. Also, those belonging to Thailand increased to 8500 from 4000 during the same time frame.

Mr. Wong said that they had a lot of time and then, there were casinos. Besides, these migrants had cash, a hell lot of it. Undoubtedly, they could gamble in their home country as well. However, there, they had most of their capital invested either in business or in their assets. Further, festivals added to the same. Since, Chinese festivals, no matter how big or small, had celebrations for them.

Professor Peter Adams (Centre for Addiction Research of the University of Auckland)
Professor Peter Adams

Professor Peter Adams at the Centre for Addiction Research of the University of Auckland, said that casinos highly targeted Asian migrants and used different ways for the same.

However, a casino said that any migrants or a particular ethnic group was not its target. Rather, it only focused on New Zealanders for its events.

A research conducted back two years by Professor Adams and his team, fleshed out gambling was nothing less than a rising mental health issue when it came to Asian migrants. They said that this issue could lead to serious consequences such as destroying the ability of people to settle properly.

The researchers said that the study raised concern about the coming generations. The reason being younger people who were not so connected to cultures and were probably not so engaged with any kind of cultural activities, were highly likely to enter into the gambling world.

It is, thus, that the team further aims at studying youth gambling, which includes the consequences of less attachment of youth with their homes and families. According to Prof Adams, this may possibly be a reason for them to enter and get trapped in the world of gambling. He concluded that rise in immigration in New Zealand may lead to a surged count of migrants who may get involved in gambling. Also, community groups such as Asian Family Services may face increased pressure as a result.


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