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Not all cherries and bananas for pokie players

Four College of Creative Arts students are helping to get the problem gambling message across to young people.

Jess Michaels, Anna Smith, Janine Schenk and Tori Carew, who study Design and Photography at the Wellington campus, are working with the Problem Gambling Foundation in Wellington. Their first project is a range of T-shirt promoting the dangers of pokie machines and their link to problem gambling.

Foundation Health Promotion Adviser Louise Hill briefed the students on how the gambling industry works, where the money goes, and the social harm caused, particularly by pokie machines. “I then asked them to think up ways to make gambling a ‘sexy’ issue and the T-shirts are one of their ideas,” Ms Hill says.

“The rationale is that when young people become interested and engaged in a social issue, the issue tends to gain momentum. At present, problem gambling is not an issue with much profile amongst young people, and although it impacts on everyone, it often goes under the radar. To change this, young people need to be involved in informing other young people about the issue. We chose Design students because they can work on the marketing of problem gambling as a social issue within the scope of their existing university work.”

The T-shirts are branded “Pow! Pokies!” Some are comic book-style. Another features the familiar pokie fruit symbols, with the slogan: “It’s not all cherries and bananas”.

The T-shirts are available from the Foundation and are also being promoted by the Downtown Community Ministry in Wellington which says it has many clients who admit to problem gambling behaviour.

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