What is the problem? A critical analysis of gambling policy in Aotearoa New Zealand

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Healey, Cath
Author ORCID Profiles (clickable)
Master of Professional Practice
Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT)
Papps, Elaine
Lander, Patrick
Masters Dissertation
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
Hawke's Bay (N.Z.)
Aotearoa New Zealand
gambling harm
Class 4 gambling
Gambling Act 2003
Strategy to Prevent and Minimise Gambling Harm 2019/20-2021/22
public health
best practice
Healey, C. (2019). What is the problem? A critical analysis of gambling policy in Aotearoa New Zealand. (Unpublished document submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Professional Practice). Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT), New Zealand. https://hdl.handle.net/10652/6062
Gambling policies in Aotearoa New Zealand are ‘not fit for purpose’ or might best be described as 'not fit for purpose for some’. A growing reliance on gambling revenue creates vested interests that inform and direct the sociopolitical environment. Gambling harm and associated health inequities persist, with ethnic minorities, women and children more likely to carry the burden of gambling harm. The research question that guides this independent scholarly project is ‘what is the problem?’ The purpose of this research is to identify ‘best practice’ policies to prevent and minimise gambling harm caused by class 4 gambling; the most harmful form of gambling internationally and in Aotearoa New Zealand. Bacchi’s, “What’s the problem represented to be?” (WPR) is an approach used to critically analyse policy. WPR is best suited to uncover and discover ‘best practice’ policies as it draws focus to and critiques the problematisations stated in gambling harm prevention and minimisation policy. The specific policies critically analysed are Part 4 subpart 3 of the Gambling Act and the Ministry of Health’s Strategy to prevent and minimise gambling harm. An overview of Hawke’s Bay’s local gambling policies was undertaken, and a thematic analysis of all gambling policies is presented. The WPR analysis uncovered predominant discourses; the problem gambler, responsible gambling, and harm prevention and minimisation. These discourses preserve the industry of gambling and perpetuate gambling harm. Recommendations for ‘best practice’ gambling policies in Aotearoa New Zealand are proposed. Legislation is a powerful mechanism that has the capacity to prevent and minimise gambling harm. Radical change is not needed to prevent and minimise harm, radical thinking where the wellbeing of people makes economic sense is.
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