HPA introduces new mascot, website and TVC to battle problem gambling

The Health Promotion Agency (HPA) has launched a new website under the ‘Choice not Chance’ banner that helps people to recognise the early signs of harmful gambling. And, in an effort to draw attention to the latest addition to its anti-gambling arsenal, the government organisation has also released a new TVC via GSL Promotus. 

The 45-second public service announcement is presented as a cheesy game show that wouldn’t be out of place in the late eighties. Charismatically hosted by former Small Blacks TV presenter Nua Finau, the spot draws a parallel between problem gambling and participating in a game—the Wheel of Misfortune in this case— that gives the player almost no chance of winning.

After predictably losing, the game show participant Mark sheepishly asks if he can play again in an effort to win back his losses. At this point the TVC prompts viewers to visit the website to take a quiz, which is designed to help identify the early signs of problem gambling. 

The ‘Choice not Chance’ website has been rebranded to reflect the theme of the new TVC, and it invites visitors to take one of two quizzes: the first is geared at gamblers who are concerned about their own gambling, while the second is for the family members of problem gamblers.


Each quiz poses a series of questions, which the visitor answers by selecting one of four choices ranging from ‘never’ to ‘almost always’. A basic underlying algorithm then tallies the responses and determines whether or not the visitor might need professional assistance to overcome a gambling problem.

“The Choice Not Chance website is part of a new campaign developed by the Health Promotion Agency (HPA) to help people protect themselves and those they care about from gambling harm,” said the HPA’s gambling harm programme manager Hannah Booth in a release.

According to Booth, the TVC draws attention some of the key signs that a person’s gambling is becoming more than just fun.

“Spending more to win back money you’ve lost (often called chasing losses), hiding or lying about your gambling, and suffering feelings of guilt or stress (often directly after gambling) are all warning signs that your gambling could be getting out of hand,” she said.

“Any indications of any of these signs could show that you’re experiencing gambling harm. And it’s not just about people with serious gambling problems. We want everyone to be aware and do something as soon as any of the signs are noticed.” 

The website has also been updated with additional information that reveals how low a person’s chances of winning are. And rather than simply displaying the information, the team at GLS have also incorporated another multiple-choice quiz that aims to put gambling harm into perspective.

In addition to the TVC, the campaign has also been launched via radio, online and on-location activations.   

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