Problem gambling is of growing concern across New Zealand. Over the course of the past years, the country has seen a huge rise in the number of individuals who have become addicted to gambling activities, such as pokies and sports betting.According to the New Zealand Problem Gambling Foundation, nearly 2% of residents could be problem gamblers. With a population of over 4.3 million, this means that there could be nearly 100 000 individuals across the country suffering from gambling addiction. As such, the government has become increasingly concerned about the risks of casino gambling.According to reports, there are several groups of individuals who are more likely to develop gambling problems than others. Maori and Pacific adults are more likely to become problem gamblers than those of other backgrounds. Youth groups also experience high rates of problem gambling. Men are also more likely than women to experience a gambling addiction.There are many other factors that can affect an individual’s likeliness of developing a gambling problem. For example, substance abusers have an increased risk of become problem gamblers. Reports have yet to confirm why this is the case. While it is likely that gambling may be seen as a financial solution to funding their other addictions, some researchers believe that gambling triggers the same emotional response as drugs or alcohol in some individuals.Problem gambling is also more likely among individuals who have pre-existing mental conditions, such as depression, anxiety and personality disorders. This fact highlights the case for increased counselling for those suffering with gambling addiction. While politicians are fighting to impose gaming limits, it seems that many problem gamblers would benefit more from counselling and therapy.The Problem Gambling Foundation cites popular reasons that individuals become addicted to online casino gambling and land-based gambling. Firstly, there is the Gambler’s Fallacy, which causes some individuals to believe that they are bound to win eventually. This keeps them playing even if they are on a downswing, digging them into a deeper financial hole. The Near-Miss Effect is also to blame. When a near-miss is experienced, the player feels the same way as if they had won and are encouraged to continue playing.The New Zealand government is currently working on ways to help reduce problem gambling rates across the country. While imposing betting limits seems to a popular solution, problem gambling groups believe that education and counselling programs are more effective ways curbing problem gambling rates.