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AUT study finds one in every 400 problem gamblers seeks help

Just one in every 400 adults seeks help for gambling problems, according to a new global study from the Auckland University of Technology (AUT).

nz study

Co-authored by AUT’s Associate Professor in Psychology and Neuroscience, Dr Simone Rodda, the study is the first to estimate how common it is for problem gamblers to seek help.

The study found that 5.8% of the world’s adult population was estimated to have a gambling problem, but that only 0.2% had sought help. Those with severe gambling problems meanwhile were more likely to seek help at one in five, compared to one in 25 people with moderate risk gambling.

Rodda noted that there is more to be done to help solve the issue in Aotearoa - the Maori-language name for New Zealand.

“Our study shows that most people with gambling problems will not ever access treatment services,” said Rodda. “The rates of help-seeking in Aotearoa are similar to global estimates, which means that we can do much more to ensure that gamblers have accessible, convenient and relevant help when they need it.”

Rodda and her colleagues - in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and service providers such as the Problem Gambling Foundation and Salvation Army - had previously been attempting to curb the issue by developing online screening and easy-to-use self-help tools.

“The challenge is to make sure this help reaches the people who seek it,” added Rodda. “A public health approach to gambling problems should be grounded in strong evidence of what people currently do to reduce their gambling harm.

“The first step for someone with a problem might be to talk to someone you already know and trust, like a friend or your GP. There is also free professional help available in New Zealand.”

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