Tighter regulations on gaming machines seem to be having little impact on Kiwis losing out at the pokies.
Department of Internal Affairs figures show gamblers' losses at the pokies rose 2.5 percent in the July-September quarter, up $5.4 million from last year to $218.9 million.
Problem Gambling Foundation of New Zealand CEO Graeme Ramsey says the unnecessary spending needs to be brought to heel.
"This is an issue that affects us all, because the impacts of problem gambling in terms of neglect, crime and demand for food banks, those are costs that we all pick up."
In the year ending September, the number of license holders fell 8 percent and venues fell 3 percent. But over the same time period Kiwis lost almost $850 million, up 3 percent.
"Only a very small proportion in New Zealand ever touch a pokie machine," says Mr Ramsey.
"If you think about the total amount of money being lost and that small percentage, you can see that some people are losing a huge amount of money.
"In the last little while we have seen a rise. Pokie machine numbers are going down and people are far more aware of the dangers and issues around pokie machines, so it's not clear to us exactly why that is happening."
There are now 16,221 licenced gaming machines in New Zealand, down from 18,309 in 2011.