The Taranaki Careers Expo took place earlier this month and the Tui Ora Public Health team seized the opportunity to highlight the issue of problem gambling to an audience of 6,000 young people.
Problem gambling is a serious problem in Aotearoa with pokie machines one of the lead offenders.
Across New Zealand $2.6 billion was lost on pokies last year - or $5.6 million every day. In Taranaki the losses reached nearly $22 million dollars.
The fallout from problem gambling can be catastrophic: financial hardship, family violence, self-harm, relationship breakdowns and suicidal ideation can all have a significant impact on individuals and their whānau.
To engage their audience the Public Health team invited attendees to take a turn on the “Choice not Chance”, wheel of misfortune. Participants were given the choice of picking a prize from a lucky dip box, or spinning the wheel of misfortune for the opportunity to win a larger prize. The odds on winning were one in 24.
Over two days the team engaged with 561 people, most of them young people. Only 16 people had a lucky spin making them eligible for the big prize draw, highlighting the low probability of getting ahead with gambling.
If you, or someone you know, is having trouble with gambling call the Problem Gambling Helpline on 0800 654 655 for free counselling and support.