7 Apr 2010

Samoans over-represented in NZ's gambling addiction statistics

10:00 pm on 7 April 2010

A Pacific service for gambling addicts in New Zealand says their problem gambling statistics indicate that Samoans are more at risk of developing an addiction to gambling than other Pacific ethnicities.

Pesio Ah-Hone Siitia manages the Problem Gambling Foundation of New Zealand's Mapu Maia.

The Samoan-born manager is raising concerns over legislation being proposed by the Samoa government which paves the way for a casino, saying its negative impact on families outweighs any economic benefits.

She says around 7-percent of people who have sought help in New Zealand for problem gambling are of Pacific origin and of those, almost half are of Samoan ethnicity.

"For a small population as in New Zealand it's a huge number. And we also know that for every one person that is a problem gambler for Pacific, it affects up to ten other people around them. So it negatively affects their family, their workplace, their children, their communities, their partners."

Pesio Ah-Hone Siitia says the pokey machine is the most popular form of gambling among Pacific communities in New Zealand and the source of many addiction problems.