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Problem Gambling Identification

The Southern Trust has developed a harm minimisation policy which includes information on identifying problem gamblers.  Venue managers are required to use the policy to identify actual or potential problem gamblers, approach any person identified, and offer information or advice to the person.

It is recognised that problem gamblers may exhibit behaviours that indicate they are experiencing gambling problems.  Indicators may be witnessed first hand by the venue manager or his/her staff, or may be observed by other patrons and brought to the attention of venue staff.  It is generally only reasonable to believe that a person may be experiencing a problem if several indicators are apparent over an extended period of time.  Staff at this venue will approach patrons who display a number of the indicators and will offer information regarding problem gambling.  Patrons are encouraged to monitor their own behaviour in regard to the listed indicators.

General Signs

Length of play

  • Gambles for long periods (three or more hours) without taking a break
  • Gambles most days
  • Finds it difficult to stop at closing time

Social behaviour

  • Becomes angry at or stands over other players
  • Rude to other gamblers or staff
  • Complains to staff about losing


  • Puts large wins straight back into the machine
  • Tries to withdraw money two or more times
  • EFTPOS repeatedly declined
  • Leaves venue to find more money to gamble

Behaviour during play

  • Tries to play two or more machines
  • Plays intensely without reacting to what’s going on around them
  • Plays very fast (high spend per line)
  • Shows frustration (grunting/groaning, playing roughly)
  • Shows some signs of distress (looks depressed, sweating, nervous/edgy)
  • Has gambling rituals or superstitions (rubbing, talking to machine)

Strong Signs

  • Gambler tells staff that gambling is causing them problems
  • Shows obvious signs of distress (crying, holding head in hands, shaking)
  • Has an angry outburst towards staff, customer or machine (shouting/swearing, kicking/hitting machine)
  • Appearance or hygiene deteriorates significantly
  • Tries to borrow money from customers or staff
  • Gambles from opening to closing
  • Leaves children in car while gambling
  • Friends or family raise concerns about the gambler
  • Goes out of their way to avoid being seen at the venue (including asking staff to not let others know they are there)

Real Fun Starts As Fun And Ends As Fun.
Addictive Behaviour Starts As Fun And Ends As Depression.
Gambling Is Entertainment And Should Be Enjoyed.

Further responsible gambling links and information... 

Gambling Helpline 24 hrs, 365 days
ph 0800 654 655
Text 4 Free 8006
Salvation Army Oasis Service Salvation Army Website
Problem Gambling Foundation www.pgfnz.org.nz
Gambling Debt Helpline
ph 0800 654 658
Maori Gambling Helpline ph 0800 654 656
Pacifica Gambling Helpline ph 0800 654 657
 Youth Gambling Helpline

ph 0800 654 659