FAQs | Gambling Support

You are here


Our FAQs may provide some of the answers you are looking for.

However if you still aren't sure about something, feel free to get in touch with our friendly and professional team, we are here to help. 

How can I contact you and book an appointment?

You can phone The Salvation Army's Call Centre number 0800 53 00 00 and ask to be connected to your closest Oasis service.

The most direct way to contact us is to complete the Take the First Step’ Contact Form on our website or phone or email your nearest Oasis service.

See our locations page on the website.

You can call or email us stating the details below to request support: 

  • Name
  • The town or city in New Zealand where you live. 
  • Your phone number and email address.
  • Your preferred time and method for us to contact you back.

Alternately, send us a message via Facebook messenger. Visit: m.me/OasisReducingGamblingHarm 

You are welcome to contact us if you live in a remote part of New Zealand or you would prefer to access our services via remote methods e.g. phone or video call, text or email.

If you are in an emergency situation, please call 111.

What are your opening hours? I need help right now, who can I talk to?

We are open business hours 8.30 am - 5.00 pm Monday to Friday in most of our locations across New Zealand and have a Saturday clinic in Christchurch.

Home visits and after-hours appointments are available on weekdays, by prior arrangement. Please contact your local Oasis service to arrange.

Most psycho-educational support groups are delivered in the evenings. 

Outside of these hours you can leave a message and request an appointment. We strive to return all enquiries within 24 hours on week days and on Mondays following the weekend.

If you need help outside of business hours, please call the 24 hour Gambling Helpline on 0800 654 655. 

If you are in an emergency situation, please call 111.

How will I be treated by the Oasis team?

At Oasis we understand it takes courage to acknowledge gambling is harming you and your loved ones and to take the first step towards help and support.

We provide a safe, welcoming and respectful environment.

We know there is a lot of shame and stigma associated with gambling. We will not judge you as we understand the addictive and isolating nature of harmful gambling.

We are professionally trained to provide specialist gambling counselling and information, tailored to your unique needs. Couple and family counselling and support is also available.

Oasis services are free and confidential. We will not share any information about your attendance or progress to a third party (including family members) without your written consent and knowledge, unless your safety, or someone else’s safety is a concern and we will discuss this with you first.

Is the service confidential?

The Oasis service is provided under the Health Information Privacy Code and Privacy laws within New Zealand.

Your personal information will remain confidential within our service and will not be shared to a third party (including family members) without your written consent and knowledge, unless your safety, or someone else’s safety is a concern, and we will discuss this with you first.

Third party reports (court, community probation services for example) will be written transparently and collaboratively with the person concerned.

We have safe and secure systems to ensure your personal information is secure.

I don’t know that I have a problem with gambling. Why should I get help?

If you are unsure if gambling is causing a problem in your life, check out our gambling quizzes and online support.

We have a range of online tools to help you to assess the impact of your gambling. These include quizzes, stories of change and resources to help you reduce the harm from gambling in your life. 

These tools are designed to help you decide whether or not to take the next step and receive support from Oasis. 

People commonly convince themselves that they are doing well, when they are struggling. This is a form of self-denial. It is therefore helpful to listen to people around you who care about you and you trust.

If family members and friends are telling you that they are concerned and you need help, then you can check out the information on our website and get help. Take the first step. 

I don’t have time for this. I would like to have a quick call with somebody to reduce and control my gambling. Is this possible?

Taking the first step and deciding to get help takes courage.

We welcome people to check out our services. It is totally up to you how long you want to access our support. You are welcome to return at any time.

You may be considering change or putting the brakes on your gambling for a while. Or you may want to stop gambling altogether. Or you may want to consider the different forms of gambling you are participating in. In fact, we welcome people to experiment with change.

The Oasis staff are qualified professionals who can work with you to find ways to reduce the harm from gambling and other associated issues. The team at Oasis can work with you to develop a plan and explore effective strategies to manage the harm that gambling can cause, tailored to your own needs.

  • We can help you exclude from gambling venues or block online gambling websites.
  • We can provide tips for money management and referrals to budgeting for debt management.
  • We can support you to access food parcels.
  • We can work with you around relationship, health, depression, anxiety, housing, employment and legal issues including referrals to other specialist support.

We recommend three to six counselling sessions to gain the most benefit and this can be accessed via a range of methods including face to face counselling, phone and video calls, text and email.

What does a typical Oasis session involve?

For many people, the most helpful thing about Oasis is talking to someone who does not judge them and they can trust about things that concern them.

This can be a short phone call, text or email to get information about the service or support provided, or a longer 60 to 75 minute counselling session.

At least one face to face session is encouraged in addition to the other methods, as it provides a safe and confidential space to engage fully in the support process. Most people find a mix of the above methods of contact to be helpful.

It’s not unusual to feel anxious before the first appointment. Please be assured that we provide a welcoming, warm and professional service at Oasis.

You are welcome to bring a support person with you to your sessions. This could be a family member, friend, kaumātua or respected elder for cultural support.

The counsellor will guide the first appointment, manage the time and balance the information gathering part of the session with hearing your story and following your lead with what is important for you to share.

The information gathering part will be weaved throughout the first few sessions. We will ask questions which you may choose not to answer, however if you do, your answers will give us a fuller understanding of the whole person and how the gambling has affected you physically, emotionally, spiritually, mentally and your relationships with others. It will also signal other areas of your life that we could also address in counselling or refer to other agencies and appropriate cultural supports.

We do spend some time inviting you to consider the impact gambling has had on your life and that of your close whānau. This is important as becoming open about the gambling is an important part of moving away from gambling harm.

First sessions can be individual, couples, family and whānau or include others who want to help you. For example, an employer, a community support worker etc.

We use a variety of therapies to assist us to help you to move forward and change. See the types of therapies we use on our website.

How long will each session take?

The first session is usually 60 – 75 minutes in length for a holistic assessment.

During this appointment you and your counsellor will have a confidential conversation about how you can work together going forward. This can include agreement on the frequency and duration of sessions. 

The number of sessions that you have will depend on your individual needs. The counsellor will begin talking to you about a counselling plan as part of the change process.

Phone sessions are typically of shorter duration.

Isn’t harmful gambling just a financial issue?

No. Harmful, excessive gambling can be described as an uncontrollable urge to keep gambling, despite the toll it takes on someone’s life.

Gambling means that you're willing to risk something you value in the hope of getting something of even greater value. It means taking a risk on an outcome purely defined by chance.

This definition suggests that people who gamble excessively have developed unhelpful beliefs and thinking patterns. For example, it is common for people to think that they have a system to win.

Our thoughts affect how we feel and behave, thus excessive gambling also leads to emotional and mental health thoughts and habitual behaviours that are unhealthy.

Oasis can help you to minimise the harm from gambling by challenging unhelpful thoughts, developing a more constructive way to think and solve problems, provide emotional support, learn ways to manage distress and learn supportive behavioural strategies.

We can support you to reduce or stop gambling completely. Call Oasis today on 0800 53 00 00

Why would I want to speak to a counsellor, can’t I just do it by myself?

You are much more likely to succeed in the long-term in reducing the impact of harmful gambling by getting face-to-face support and guidance from Oasis.

Some people can stop gambling with self-help resources, self determination and social support, especially if it is early in the gambling cycle.

However, most people find it too difficult to stop without additional specialist support and guidance. The reason for this is that gamblers have often developed automatic thoughts and beliefs about themselves and gambling that they believe to be true.  For example, gamblers convince themselves that they are doing much better than they really are, and justify going back to gamble because they do not really have a problem, or can’t see a way forward without gambling.

A counsellor and support group will challenge any unhelpful thoughts and behaviour that could led to a painful relapse.

We can support you to reduce or stop gambling completely. You don't need to make these changes alone. Oasis can help. See a full list of our locations. Feel free to send us a message on this website, via Facebook messenger or by calling us on 0800 53 00 00. 

What causes gambling to become a problem in people’s lives?

There is no one reason why gambling affects some people differently from others.

Sometimes people experience challenges or upheavals in an area of their lives and they turn to gambling for an emotional escape, a bit of time out & fun, or to relieve a financial problem or a change in their financial circumstances.  

Gambling can begin as an innocent way to spend time and socialise before growing into a big problem very quickly for some people, especially if you experience a big win.

If you gamble to relieve a financial shortfall or to lift a low mood, you are at increased risk of developing problems. Gambling should never be used as a way to make money. There is no certainty of a win.

In fact, the more you gamble, the more money you are likely to lose. The odds of winning are designed to favour the house. The odds do not increase if you gamble frequently or for long periods. People often over estimate their skill in a game of chance and this can lead to reckless behaviour.

Gambling should never be used to relieve emotional stress, trauma, pain or worry. Gambling is best used as a way to socialise and spend some time and money for entertainment. Only spend money that you are prepared to lose.

If you are gambling for any of these reasons you can benefit from learning new ways to manage emotions, learn alternative ways of coping with stress and worry and to learn about the role that chance plays in gambling.

The following are common everyday issues and other emotional challenges that can lead to the escalation of a gambling activity:

  • Financial pressure and stress
  • Stressful life circumstances and not knowing how to emotionally cope (past or present)
  • Grief and loss associated with death of an important person or a treasured animal  
  • Relationship breakdown and separation
  • Feelings of shame, anxiety or depression
  • Changes to employment and health status and associated loss of independence
  • Overwhelmed about how to clear bad debts and other financial and business problems
  • Changes to lifestyle that are perceived as negative or do not fit with persons self-image
  • Unhelpful beliefs about winning & over emphasising the role that skills plays in games of chance
  • A recent financial windfall (retirement, redundancy, sale of home) leading to a large disposable income.
  • Impulsive tendencies in other areas of life, not limited to gambling.

We can support you to reduce or stop gambling completely. Call Oasis today on 0800 53 00 00

What kinds of people experience gambling harm?

There is no one kind of person who experiences gambling harm. People from all walks of life and all backgrounds seek help from Oasis.

Gambling harm can affect anyone, at any time in their life. 

We have over 100 specific ethnic groups identified in our database and age groups that range from young adulthood to people in their eighties.

We can support you to reach your goals to reduce or stop gambling.

A key way we do this is to create a relapse prevention plan that identifies triggers for lapses and also identifies support networks, strategies and explores lifestyle balance.

You are not alone. Call Oasis today on 0800 53 00 00, send us a message on this website or via Facebook messenger. 

I am worried about someone in my life who is experiencing gambling harm, can you help?

The Salvation Army Oasis offers support and help for whānau, friends, colleagues and anyone who is being harmed by the gambling of someone they know.

The whānau/family member can choose to attend counselling with or without the gambler present.

The right approach for you can be worked out with a counsellor over the phone/email or at your first face to face appointment. We will be flexible to whatever suits you.

Family focused approach:

  • Is an approach that involves family early in the intervention with the gambler present. It is a strengths based approach which means that we work with the strengths of the family to guide the sessions.
  • A strength based approach draws on the knowledge, insights and cultural norms of families.
  • The parents’ guide the family session when children /teens are present and the counsellor can be viewed as an additional resource to keep things on track, ensure everyone is heard and the goals for the session are met.
  • Recognises that family members are impacted by mental health and addiction issues and need support and at times a referral to another service.

We welcome you to make contact with our professional and supportive team. We are here to support you, provide assistance and to listen to your situation, please call us today on 0800 53 00 00 or send us a message on this website or via Facebook messenger.  

We also have a variety of resources on this website for family and whānau. 

I am needing help in other areas not just around gambling, can you help?

Absolutely. Some examples of the main services that Oasis clients often need help to access are listed here.  We can help you to access all of these services and we often have close links with services that we commonly refer people to:

  • Budgeting services.
  • Legal services.
  • Support services for the harm of alcohol and other drugs.
  • 12 Step programmes for Gamblers Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous.
  • Culturally specific services for Māori, Pasifika, Asian and other ethnicity groups, where this is possible
  • Food Banks
  • Work and income assistance.
  • Emergency housing and supported accommodation
  • Quit Smoking programmes
  • Family violence organisations and women’s refuges
  • A range of telehealth services
  • Youth services
  • Mental health services
  • Parenting programmes
  • GP services

Oasis counsellors can support people to access these services at no charge. It is part of our service to support people to find other services that can also assist them.

We can do this by either calling a service during a session to help you to reach out to another service; drive you to another service; meet you at another service at an agreed time and offer support during the initial appointment.

In addition to the commonly used services above, there are a huge range of services at the Salvation Army that we can help you to access. Some of the above services are also provided the Salvation Army. These are listed here.

  • The Salvation Army Bridge: Support to reduce the harm of alcohol and other drugs in one's life. Residential programmes and community-based programmes.
  • Prison Reintegration Services Wrap-around support for people to gain vocational training and skills – vital for life after prison.
  • Supportive Accommodation Services: Empowering people to find a home, along with wrap-around support services that enable them to transform their lives.
  • Recovery Church: A welcoming community for people in recovery (from trauma or addiction), who gather together to share their experiences together in a non-judgemental space of spiritual comfort. 
  • Community Finance loans: Helping people on a low income (waged or non-waged) to get out of debt with a low or no interest loan, along with budgeting education
  • Food banks, clothing and furniture: The Salvation Army’s Community Ministries provide emergency clothing, furniture and food donations throughout New Zealand.
  • Driver mentoring trainingA regional programme located in the South Island which upskills and trains marginalised people, including refugees. Who obtain their drivers licence, leading to greater personal freedom, independence and new opportunities.
  • Early childhood education centres and youth programmes: Helping children and young people to achieve their potential. 
  • Court chaplaincyAssistance for court appearances for victims, defendants, witnesses or others in need of non-legal practical support.

In the first instance, make a free call to The Salvation Army Call Centre on 0800 53 00 00 to find out about the services available in your area.