Self-exclusion in a Public Health Environment: An Effective Treatment Option in New Zealand
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- Townshend, P. Int J Ment Health Addiction (2007) 5: 390. doi:10.1007/s11469-007-9075-7
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New Zealand law provides a banning and self-banning system for gambling venues with Video Gaming Machines(VGMs) that reflects the public health emphasis within the New Zealand Gambling Act 2003. The act defines problem gambling as a public health issue. Amongst its provisions is a simple process for self and venue initiated self-exclusion and substantial penalties for venues that allow excluded persons into gambling areas. When combined with defined host responsibilities this places the onus for providing safe gambling on the gambling venues.
This paper contrasts NZ self-exclusion legislation with comparable legislation in some similar jurisdictions. It also pursues a small sample of problem gamblers who have self banned and examines their follow up for up to two years. Measures include the South Oaks Gambling Screen (SOGs) and the number of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-IV (DSMIV) criteria of pathological gambling before and after self-banning.
The findings suggest that self-exclusion is an effective treatment tool for the group of clients who have the extreme difficulty controlling their gambling in other ways, and may be more effective in the public health gambling environment.