Gambling Harm Awareness Week

What is the focus of GHAW?

During this week, events and activities will take place around the country that aim to raise awareness in our communities about the harm from gambling, particularly pokie machines; the most harmful form of gambling. Although these events are fun, family events, they carry a serious message.

Harmful gambling impacts our whānau and our communities. An estimated 54,000 people in New Zealand are problem or moderate risk gamblers.

An estimated 37,000 people aged 15 years or older in New Zealand are at high risk of gambling harm or ‘problem gamblers’, about 47,000 are moderate risk and a further 106,000 are low-risk but will experience gambling-related harm during their lifetime. Every person with a gambling problem affects up to six other people.

It is a significant social issue that can’t be ignored.

2023: Gambling Harm Awareness Week activities across Aotearoa

Gambling Harm Awareness Week in 2023 will be held from 4th to 10th September.

During Gambling Harm Awareness Week 2023, PGF Group is raising awareness about gambling-related harm. The focus of this year's campaign is centred on sports betting online and engaging with rangatahi. To ensure the effectiveness and authenticity of the campaign, PGF Group is collaborating with a peer review panel comprising rangatahi.

The campaign's launch is also strategically timed to coincide with the Rugby World Cup, with our message across multiple social media accounts, encouraging people to “test their gambling” to see if it’s still okay.

Regional GHAW Events

Online Event

On Wednesday 6 September at 11:00am-12:30pm, we will be holding a webinar welcoming two people with lived experience of gambling harm to share their stories of addiction and recovery. We will hear from one person who gambled, and another who was affected by someone else's gambling.

These stories are key to understanding the harm gambling causes within our communities in Aotearoa, and unpacking the shame and stigma which limits people reaching out for help.

All are welcome. You can register to the webinar here.

Tāmaki Makaurau/Auckland

We will have a stall at Clendon Library from Wednesday the 6th till Saturday the 9th of September from 9:30am – 1pm.

We also have a space at Tupu Library on Friday 8 September and Saturday 9 September at 1pm-4pm.


On Monday 4 September at 10:00am-2:00pm, both PGF Services and Asian Family Services will have stalls at Eastgate Shopping Centre. Come and say hi to our teams.


Look out for our video at Dunedin Library!

Asian Family Services - "Time for Love, Time for Life"

Our friends at Asian Family Services are leading a dynamic social media campaign, "Time for Love, Time for Life", aimed at encouraging gamblers to prioritise spending quality time with their loved ones. By focusing on the value of relationships and connections, this campaign intends to foster a healthier perspective on gambling habits.

Asian Family Services is also actively participating in a series of initiatives during this week. Stall displays will be hosted at TAB stores in Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch, providing accessible information and resources about gambling harm. Additionally, a stall display is being planned at SkyCity Auckland.

Furthermore, Asian Family Services is dedicated to enhancing the well-being of the Asian community, organising the Asian Hauora Day, an event designed to promote wellness among Asian construction workers and their family members. This initiative reflects a holistic approach to mitigating gambling-related harm, extending beyond individuals to the broader community.

Gambling Harm Awareness Week​​ evolved from Gamblefree Day which was traditionally held on 1 September.

The first Gamblefree Day was held on 1 September 2005.

Delegates at the CommUnity Action on Gambling Conference held in Hamilton in 2004 decided that a national gamblefree day would raise awareness about problem gambling in New Zealand.

The proposal, suggested by Paul Lavulo, of the National Pacific Gambling Project was endorsed by the delegates at the conference and Gamblefree Day has been an annual event on 1 September since 2005.

Community groups throughout New Zealand are encouraged to take direct action on the day. A co-ordinated national campaign will help ensure that the public are made aware of the harm pokies in our society cause.