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New Zealand agency deals with many Samoans

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, April 7, 2010) – A Pacific service for gambling addicts in New Zealand says their statistics indicate that Samoans are more at risk of developing an addiction to gambling than other Pacific ethnicities.

Pesio Ah-Hone Siitia manages the Problem Gambling Foundation of New Zealand’s Mapu Maia.

The Samoan-born manager is raising concerns over legislation being proposed by the Samoa government which paves the way for a casino, saying its negative impact on families outweighs any economic benefits.

She says around 7-percent of people who have sought help in New Zealand for problem gambling are of Pacific origin and of those, almost half are of Samoan ethnicity.

"For a small population as in New Zealand it’s a huge number. And we also know that for every one person that is a problem gambler for Pacific, it affects up to ten other people around them. So it negatively affects their family, their workplace, their children, their communities, their partners."

Pesio Ah-Hone Siitia says the pokey machine is the most popular form of gambling among Pacific communities in New Zealand and the source of many addiction problems.

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