The Problem Gambling Foundation, an organization offering counsel and support for problem gamblers have had their government funding cut.
The New Zealand Ministry of Health made gambling news, after announcing their decision to scrap funding for the Problem Gambling Foundation, intending to now contract clinical services out to another provider instead.
The Problem Gambling Foundation, which is non-profit, has helped counsel over 25,000 people since beginning operations 20 years ago.
The Foundation was the largest single treatment provider for problem gambling in Australasia, operating from over 60 locations throughout New Zealand with a staff of 70.
Qualified counselors provided free, professional and confidential counseling services for gamblers and others affected by gambling.
Foundation chief Graeme Ramsey called the decision a ‘major blow’ for the Foundation, its services and their staff. He claims the cut will means the organization will be prevented from publicly speaking out about the harms of gambling.
Ramsey commented: “We have spoken out about the problems of gambling and the impact that has on families and communities in New Zealand.”
“This may not silence us, but it’s certainly going to muzzle us to a very large degree,” he added.
The Foundation has significantly campaigned against the harm caused by an increase in casinos and pokie machines in recent years, and has asked for changes in the current New Zealand gambling laws.