Pacific radio news

Housie and bingo "dangerous and addictive"

The head of a Pacific problem gambling service in Auckland says games such as housie and bingo are dangerous and addictive for Pacific people.

Mapu Maia National Director Pesio Ah-Honi Siitia is warning Pacific people to watch out for these games.

"Housie nights in our churches have all been great forms of fundraising in the past but the introduction of new more dangerous forms of gambling, our people are flocking to them and playing them without knowing that they're really addictive," she says.

Photo/ Supplied.
A recent national study found Pacific people with gambling problems make up 8 per cent compared to only 2.5 per cent of Palagis.

Ah-Honi Siitia says Pacific people are over-represented in problem gambling. 

"We're the highest at-risk of developing problem gambling or psychological gambling within our communities."

Pesio Ah-Honi Siitia. Photo/ Supplied.

She's urging families to keep an eye out for Pacific people who may have a gambling addiction and direct them to rehabilitation services.

"The thing about problem gambling is that it's secretive, people don't realise that maybe your mother or father or aunty have a gambling problem until it's too late." 

"Gambling-harm hurts our families... We have Pacific counsellors that provide it in our language. It's an addictive behaviour and there needs to be some sort of intervention involved."

This week is Gambling Harm Awareness Week.