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New Zealand Smoking Ban Credited with Drop in Gambling

22 August 2006

NEW ZEALAND -- As reported by the Gisborne Herald: "The incidence of problem gambling has dropped by a third since the introduction of the smoking ban in pubs and clubs.

"Problem Gambling Helpline chief executive Krista Ferguson told The New Zealand Herald calls received from new gamblers across New Zealand had fallen by 33 percent in 2005 and had stayed down this year.

"This drop was reflected in Gisborne, with referrals from Ngati Porou Hauora Problem Gambling Services reducing over the last year.

"...It was thought this might have been because time spent on pokie machines was reduced due to the need to physically remove themselves from the premises when they need to smoke, although the Gambling Act of 2003 was also thought to be a contributing factor.

"...Before the smoking ban, people were more prone to sitting at a machine for long periods of time and therefore spent more money..."

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