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Accessing pokie machines and casinos in Central Otago and Queenstown is easy - finding help when gambling becomes a problem is not, as John Edens discovers. C ounsellors say a lack of services for problem gamblers and people who need addiction-related help in Queenstown Lakes and Central Otago is ''outrageous''.

Addiction services for drug abuse, alcoholism and problem gambling are funded by the Southern District Health Board and the Ministry Health, and run by the Salvation Army and Nga Kete but these organisations struggle to meet demand. Queenstown and Central Otago districts are small in terms of national gambling habits, number of venues and machines but demographics, particularly in Queenstown, are changing.

The Salvation Army in Queenstown offered a gambling support service through its Oasis arm but that stopped more than a year ago when a contract expired. Earlier this year in the Queenstown District Court the Probation Service said there was no dedicated gambling counselling available in the resort, although there were a handful of ad hoc services. In addition, one of the few services for drug and alcohol counselling in Queenstown, Invercargill-based Nga Kete, had a week backlog of appointments and, at the end of last year, deferred all Department of Corrections referrals until the waiting list cleared.

Most of the organisation's work in Queenstown was drug and alcohol-related for Nga Kete's two-day a gambling software service. Just before [Christmas] we had a week waiting list, that's just Queenstown and the majority of those would be for drug and alcohol-related issues.

Addiction services were funded by the Ministry of Health and the Southern District Health Board's remit also covered problem gambling, although a problem gambling-specific service was unavailable. There was an argument for a five-day a week service for drug, alcohol and problem gambling but it was a difficult area to investigate.

But we would think with two casinos in Queenstown We would need to be funded. We don't like a having a waiting list. The organisation tendered for a new Ministry of Health contract and was waiting to hear the outcome, he said. There's a high proportion of pokie machines in rural areas.

We're fully aware there's a gambling problem in Queenstown, we have two casinos [and pokies], clearly there's going to be addiction. We are doing better but we are aware of the need for counselling services in these areas. It's throughout Central Otago, there just doesn't seem to be the organisation, it's been neglected I think. We're very cut off and I think we could do with a lot more addiction. Problem gamblers can be given oasis gambling exclusions'' effectively banning them from casinos and pokie venues and a levy is imposed on operators to apportion a percentage of funds for the Ministry of Health to run services.

She said funds were allocated vientian casino the Government to the Ministry of Health to help fund contracts and service providers. A Addiction statement said a request for proposals to run problem gambling addiction was completed last year.

It is anticipated that the new service contracts will commence with effect from July 1. Gambling addiction services lacking. Associate professor Peter Adams says New Zealanders had an innocuous relationship with gambling until pokie machines were introduced in the s. The backlog before Christmas was cleared, she said.

It's rate just can't keep up oasis gambling addiction the infrastructure. Sky City Wharf previously Lasseters. Gaming machine venues and numbers:

Our centre offers professional counselling for gamblers, their partners, family members and others affected by problem gambling. We are part of. Oasis Recovery Communities Runcorn offers a comprehensive inpatient rehabilitation programme for those suffering from gambling addiction. Oasis - help with addiction to alcohol, Drugs or gambling - Greece. +??s??f 12, Tessa??????, 25 12, Moskof Street, Thessaloniki,

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