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12 February 2015

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Media spotlight on Mystery Shopper

The Department’s appearance at a Parliamentary Select Committee on Wednesday 11 February prompted a fresh story on our Mystery Shopper initiative.

In December, you will remember, we released the results of our mystery shopper campaign that sent undercover gamblers to casinos, pubs, and hotels to test whether patrons showing warning factors that could indicate potential problem gambling were adequately dealt with by venue staff. The details are on our website.

The results were disappointing but we’ve been pleased that many gambling operators have already told us they will work to improve the situation.

TVNZ yesterday picked up the story again and introduced it by saying “casino and other gambling venues have been warned they'll be shut down unless they start playing by the rules".

We have pointed out to the journalist that this is incorrect reporting. What we have said is that we will work with gambling operators to improve the identification and management of problem gamblers. At this stage we believe education and support is the best way to improve the situation.

We are on record as saying we will reassess the situation early next year. If we believe progress is not being made our approach is likely to change.

We are in the planning stages of engaging with you about the next steps of this initiative.