DIA Uses Mystery Shoppers in NZ Gaming Venues

Across New Zealand, gaming venues have a responsibility to protect their players. Staff are trained to be able to spot problem gamblers and encourage them to seek help. This can be a tricky rule to regulate, so the Department of Internal Affairs has come up with quite a novel plan.

At casinos, clubs, pubs and hotels in New Zealand, the DIA placed mystery shoppers on the gaming floor. Their goals was to be on the lookout for staff carrying out the important task of recognizing signs of problem gambling and doing something about it.

Casinos Pass the Test

Fortunately for players, each of the six casinos across New Zealand were found to have a “good standard of host responsibility and culture”. This means that casino staff paid attention to players and were able to encourage responsible gambling when the opportunity arose.

Sadly, this was not the case at pubs and clubs across the country. In fact, just 41% of these venues were able to meet the criteria set out by the Department of Internal Affairs. With over 110 gaming venues in New Zealand, this means that less than 50 had staff that were looking after customers they way that they were supposed to.

According to Maarten Quivooy, the mystery shoppers were instructed to display signs associated with stress, such as sighing, talking to the game and even asking cashiers for more money so that they could continue playing.

"We think they're pretty obvious signals,” says Quivooy. “So, in that case we expected those to be taken seriously and they weren't."

The study using mystery shoppers has shown that there is a lot that needs to be done in terms of promoting responsible gambling in pubs and hotels across New Zealand. A good idea would be to introduce new training programs that ensure staff are well-trained in sighting signs of problem gambling.

Responsible Gambling Tools Online

In recent years, we’ve seen many more online casinos using responsible gambling tools to help at-risk players – which is a definite advantage to playing slots in the digital world. Time limits, deposit restrictions, self-exclusion and reality checks are some of the mechanics online gamblers have at their disposal. Additionally, players can easily access their account information to keep track of their spending and ensure that they are not exceeding their budgets.

Whether you’re at risk or not, we always recommend making use of these tools. Ensure that you set a reality check time limit to let you know exactly how long you’ve been playing, so that you don’t let yourself get carried away. A deposit limit is also a good idea if you somehow manage to lose track of how much you spend on occasion.