Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences

About us

The Centre for Gambling Studies (CGS) is part of the section of Social and Community Health in the School of Population Health.

CGS is keen to have national and international collaborations with other organisations with an interest in gambling.

Gambling information provides facts regarding the growth of gambling in New Zealand as well as some government policies and strategies, plus problem gambling intervention statistics.  

The need

Gambling consumption in New Zealand has escalated over the past two decades. The increase is propelled by greater availability of new forms of gambling, particularly continuous forms of gambling such as electronic gambling machines. Despite this proliferation, we know little about the medium and long-term consequences of sustained higher levels of gambling on our quality of life. Where is this taking us? How will it interact within the social and economic fabric of our communities? We currently have few sources of information. Future management of the positive and negative aspects of our intensified relationship with gambling will require knowledge and understandings based on quality research.


         Over the last decade or so, several researchers associated with The Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences have pursued a variety of small research projects on gambling. With increasing demand for information on the impacts of gambling, we became increasingly aware of the need to develop a more substantial platform for research productivity. We identified the establishment of a centre as a means to create a sufficient critical mass for sustained quality research programmes that advance our understanding of gambling behaviour and its effect on people. In May 2001, the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences approved the formation of the centre. Its establishment was announced publicly at the Second International Conference on Gambling held in Auckland in July 2001. The location for the centre was formally opened by the Deputy Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Jim Anderton, on 26th October 2001.

In February 2004 the centre moved to the new $30 million dollar building constructed on University’s Tāmaki Campus in Glen Innes and housing the School of Population Health. The school, headed by Professor Alistair Woodward, has been designed as a large 400 staff unit and is adopting an innovative approach where teaching and research is provided by the school as an organic whole; research groups form in a fluid form according to need and according to the overall direction of research programmes. This means the Centre for Gambling Studies is part of a larger network of specialist academics and researchers who participate in research projects as the need dictates. The centre has ready access to experts in epidemiology, clinical trials, statistics, evaluation, qualitative research, health economics, behavioural science, primary health, community development, Māori health, Pacific health, Asian health and youth health.     


Our vision


The Centre for Gambling Studies is committed to providing independent and quality research and learning to minimise harm from gambling and to promote gambling related wellbeing in communities.     

Values, principles and objectives     

         The centre adheres to the following values, principles and objectives in guiding its development and research:

  • Public good
    The research undertaken will contribute to the enhancement of public good and reducing inequalities, with the wellbeing of communities as a central focus.
  • Public health
    The broad foci of all research will be harm minimisation and health promotion. A public health approach will be undertaken from a positive perspective utilising strength/ capacity building approaches, health promotion, community development, policy analysis and development and other tools for public health action.
  • Treaty of Waitangi
    The Treaty of Waitangi will provide the basis for public health approaches and conducting research that recognises the ongoing relationship that exists between Māori and The Crown in Aotearoa.
  • Independence
    Quality research requires guaranteed independence from direct influence by organisations, particularly those that profit from gambling, and will utilise transparent processes for accountability.
  • Critic conscience and communication
    A role of the University is to disseminate knowledge and provide evidence based commentary/advocacy on matters affecting communities.
  • Comprehensive planning
    Research activities will be undertaken as part of a viable and agreed overall strategic plan, rather than only reflecting the individual interests of researchers or funders.
  • Cultural considerations and research ethics
    All research must be conducted in an ethical fashion with the highest regard for cultural considerations and other dimensions relating to the context of the research.
  • Community partnership
    All research should be conducted in partnership with, and participation of, relevant communities.
  • National and international collaboration
    Co-operation and project partnerships will enhance the excellence and independence of gambling research and support public good. 



Key priorities

The centre has participated in a number of processes aimed at identifying the major short to medium term priorities for gambling research. The following areas have emerged as key priorities:

  • Qualitative research
    Qualitative research is required to further build our understanding of gambling and its complex nature from data gathered through prevalence studies. This type of research provides a pathway to building specialist fields eg, identifying harms, investigating population groups, social marketing strategies, interventions and evaluations, advertising analysis, identifying protective factors etc (NB: this does not exclude quantitative research).
  • Community development research
    Research is required into investigating the social and economic impacts of gambling on local communities and developing indicators for assessing behavioural change. Community indicator research has begun and requires further development and piloting through participatory action research in collaboration with communities.
  • Behavioural research
    An increasingly important area for future research, with the expected technological advancements and accessibility, is in the area of human-technology interface eg, assessing harm/addiction from new gambling products.
  • Population based research
    Research into the contribution that gambling makes to harm in high-risk populations, including Pacific, Māori, Asian, youth, elderly, women, criminal populations, and the industry workforce.
  • Longitudinal research
    This type of research is required to build a more comprehensive picture of the dynamic nature of gambling behaviour, harm impacts and causality.
  • Intervention research and evaluation
    It is becoming increasingly important to evaluate existing interventions and services to measure outcomes. The design and implementation of intervention strategies in terms of public education, community development, health promotion, primary health and treatment interventions is still required.
  • Host responsibility research / sector development
    A conceptual framework has been developed for host responsibility. Dissemination and further research is required to enable the establishment of best practise processes (including monitoring and evaluation), guidelines, training and implementation.
  • Data collection and dissemination
    As recognised in the above research areas, there is a paucity of robust data available for interested parties (eg, government departments, TLAs, LGNZ, services, and community groups) to utilise on the assessment of gambling. Data collection and dissemination processes need to be identified, improved and/or made accessible – possible clearing house required.
  • Workforce development
    Building capacity in the gambling research workforce (specialist vs. generic), with particular emphasis on Pacific, Māori and Youth researchers. Developing specialist courses in gambling. Building and maintaining capacity for PhD and Masters students. Providing opportunities for publishing papers. More information about CGS current research initiatives is presented in the Research and Publications section. 

What we can offer

The Centre for Gambling Studies offers independent, university-based professional research and consultancy services. We also offer research collaborations such as those described below.

  • Collaborations with community groups, government agencies and researchers - both locally and internationally.
  • Development and implementation of research related to gambling issues, eg, socio-economic studies of gambling, effectiveness of intervention strategies to reduce harm caused by gambling.

We have researchers with working experience and expertise in:

  • Public health
  • Health promotion
  • Māori, Pacific and Asian peoples
  • Policy studies
  • Forensics and the justice system
  • Treatment
  • Young people

We offer consultancy services:

  • Independent consultancy services to community groups, government agencies and gambling industry regulators on gambling-related reports, surveys, strategies and policies.

We can also assist with training:

  • Assistance and supervision for postgraduate studies, including at doctorate level.
  • National and international workshops and conferences on gambling-related issues.
  • A postgraduate course on Gambling and Health.


The Executive Board gratefully acknowledges the support of senior staff in the Deanery of the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences. Its existence has also relied on the funding and support of:

  • The Ministry of Health
  • The Problem Gambling Foundation of New Zealand
  • Auckland Uniservices Limited