In New Zealand, pokies are a popular form of gambling, but they can also be highly addictive and have negative effects on individuals and their families.
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Pokies, also known as pokies machines, can be found in many bars, clubs, and casinos throughout the country.
In this blog, we will discuss the negative effects of pokies addiction, the signs of addiction, and strategies for overcoming addiction. It’s essential to recognize the signs of addiction and take steps to seek help, both on your own and with professional assistance.
Let’s explore how to overcome pokies addiction in New Zealand. But before that let’s find out what pokies are and why these are so popular in NZ.
Also read: Gambling History in NZ
What are pokies and their popularity in NZ
Pokies, also known as pokies machines, are electronic gambling machines that are widely popular in New Zealand. These machines can be found in a range of locations, from bars and clubs to casinos and dedicated gaming venues. In fact, pokies are the most popular form of gambling in New Zealand, accounting for more than 40% of total gambling expenditure in the country.
One reason for the popularity of pokies in New Zealand is their accessibility. With machines available in many public places, they are easily accessible to anyone who wants to gamble. Additionally, many pokies offer low minimum bets, making them a relatively affordable form of entertainment.
However, the accessibility and popularity of pokies can also lead to problem gambling and addiction. It is estimated that around 3% of New Zealanders experience moderate to severe gambling-related harm, and pokies are often a contributing factor. If you or someone you know is struggling with a pokies addiction, it is important to seek help and support.
Also Read: Is Online Gambling Legal in NZ?
The negative effects of pokies addiction
Pokies addiction can have a number of negative effects on individuals and their loved ones. Some of the common negative effects of pokies addiction include:
- Financial problems: One of the most obvious negative effects of pokies addiction is financial problems. Many people who are addicted to pokies end up spending all their money on gambling, leading to debt, bankruptcy, and even poverty.
- Mental health issues: Pokies addiction can also lead to a number of mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety, and stress. This is because the addiction can cause a person to feel overwhelmed and helpless, which can be very stressful.
- Relationship problems: Pokies addiction can also lead to relationship problems. Many people who are addicted to pokies end up neglecting their relationships with family and friends, leading to conflict and resentment.
- Employment issues: People who are addicted to pokies may find it difficult to maintain employment due to their addiction. This can lead to job loss, financial instability, and further stress.
- Health problems: Pokies addiction can also have physical health consequences, such as lack of sleep, poor diet, and other health issues that arise from stress and anxiety.
Overall, the negative effects of pokies addiction can be serious and long-lasting, affecting not just the individual but also their loved ones and community. It is important to seek help if you or someone you know is struggling with pokies addiction.
Also read: Responsible Online Gambling
Signs of Pokies Addiction
Pokies addiction can be difficult to recognize, especially in the early stages. However, there are some signs that can indicate a problem. Here are some of the most common signs of pokies addiction:
- Increasing time and money spent on pokies: A person with a pokies addiction will often spend more and more time and money on pokies, even when they cannot afford it.
- Neglecting responsibilities: A person with a pokies addiction may neglect their work, school, or family responsibilities in order to play pokies.
- Concealing gambling behaviour: A person with a pokies addiction may go to great lengths to hide their gambling behaviour from others, such as lying about where they have been or how much money they have spent.
- Using pokies as a way to cope: A person with a pokies addiction may use pokies as a way to cope with stress, anxiety, or other negative emotions.
- Continuing to gamble despite negative consequences: A person with a pokies addiction may continue to gamble even when they have experienced negative consequences, such as financial problems or relationship issues.
If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these signs, it may be time to seek help for pokies addiction.
Importance of recognizing these signs and seeking help
Recognizing the signs of pokies addiction is crucial in overcoming the problem. Some of the common signs of pokies addiction include spending excessive time and money on pokies, neglecting responsibilities and relationships, becoming defensive or irritable when confronted about gambling, feeling guilty or ashamed about gambling, and attempting to hide the extent of gambling from others.
If you or someone you know is experiencing these signs, seeking help is important. It is important to understand that pokies addiction is a serious issue and can have a significant impact on individuals and their loved ones. Fortunately, there are many resources and organizations available in New Zealand to help those struggling with pokies addiction.
Post of interest: New Zealand 2003 gambling act to be updated with other reforms
Strategies for Overcoming Pokies Addiction
Seeking Professional Help and Support
1. Recognizing the need for professional assistance
Acknowledging the presence of a pokies addiction is an important first step. If you find that your gambling habits are causing distress and negatively impacting various aspects of your life, it may be time to seek professional help. A trained addiction counsellor or therapist can provide guidance and support throughout your recovery journey.
2. Connecting with addiction counsellors or therapists
In New Zealand, there are numerous addiction counsellors and therapists who specialize in gambling addiction. Consider reaching out to them to schedule an appointment. They can help you understand the underlying factors contributing to your addiction and provide strategies to overcome it.
3. Exploring support groups and helplines in New Zealand
Support groups such as Gamblers Anonymous (GA) offer a supportive community where individuals struggling with gambling addiction can share their experiences and learn from others. Helplines, such as the Gambling Helpline New Zealand, provide confidential and non-judgmental assistance to those seeking help.
Creating a Personalized Recovery Plan
1. Identifying triggers and risky situations
Understanding the triggers that lead to gambling urges is crucial for developing a personalized recovery plan. Reflect on the situations, emotions, or thoughts that commonly precede your gambling episodes. By identifying these triggers, you can develop strategies to avoid or cope with them effectively.
2. Setting achievable goals for quitting pokies
Setting realistic and achievable goals is an essential part of the recovery process. Start by establishing short-term goals, such as reducing the frequency or duration of your gambling sessions. As you progress, gradually work towards long-term goals, such as complete abstinence from pokies.
3. Implementing strategies for self-control and relapse prevention
Developing strategies to enhance self-control and prevent relapse is vital. This may include practicing mindfulness techniques, finding alternative activities to replace gambling, and employing self-exclusion measures to limit access to pokies venues or online platforms.
Building a Supportive Environment
1. Communicating with family and friends about the addiction
Openly discussing your pokies addiction with trusted family and friends can help build a support network. Explain your situation, express your commitment to recovery, and ask for their understanding and support throughout the process.
2. Enlisting their support in the recovery journey
Request the assistance of your loved ones in holding you accountable for your actions and helping you stay on track with your recovery plan. They can provide encouragement, accompany you to support group meetings or participate in activities that do not involve gambling.
3. Surrounding oneself with positive influences and hobbies
Engaging in positive activities and hobbies can help distract from gambling urges and reduce the likelihood of relapse. Explore new interests, connect with like-minded individuals, and build a fulfilling life outside of gambling.
Remember, recovery is a journey, and it’s essential to be patient and kind to yourself throughout the process. By seeking professional help, creating a personalized recovery plan, and building a supportive environment, you can overcome your pokies addiction and reclaim control of your life.
In conclusion, overcoming a pokies addiction in New Zealand requires a multi-faceted approach that includes seeking professional help, creating a personalized recovery plan, and building a supportive environment. By reaching out to addiction counsellors, joining support groups, and utilizing helplines, individuals can access the guidance and support needed to break free from the cycle of gambling.
Implementing strategies for self-control, setting achievable goals, and surrounding oneself with positive influences and hobbies are crucial steps toward long-term recovery. Remember, it is a journey that may have ups and downs, but with determination and the right support, it is possible to stop gambling on pokies and regain control over one’s life.