Online Gambling Consultation - New Zealand Internal Affairs Seeks Public Opinion on Online Gambling

by Administrator

Online Gambling Consultation

Online Gambling in New Zealand: Public Discussion Document

The Government is interested in knowing what is important to you when it comes to regulating online gambling in New Zealand.

We would also like to know more about how online gambling is affecting the lives of New Zealanders.

The current Gambling Act is from 2003. Back then, internet technology was still developing. Law makers couldn’t have foreseen the way that gambling would develop online 16 years on.

We need to update our laws for today’s digital world and future-proof them as much as possible.

How do I have my say?

Here is link to the submission form:

Fill and submit by Monday 30 September 2019 to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

or mail to:

Online Gambling Team
Department of Internal Affairs 
PO Box 805
Wellington 6140

Here are some documents that may inform your submission

In other languages:

Submissions close Monday 30 September 2019

New Zealand’s Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) is asking the public for their opinion regarding the potential expansion of online gambling activities in the country. Earlier this week the department launched a consultation on the matter that will be available online here until September 30th. Interested citizens can fill out a submission form outlining their feelings about how online gambling should be regulated going forward. The country is looking to update laws that it feels may no longer be relevant since the current Gambling Act was formed in 2003.

The speed at which technology has developed means current regulation may be insufficient to properly protect players from risks associated with online gambling. In the consultation which is available on the DIA government website, Te Tari Taiwhenua states: “We need to update our laws for today’s digital world and future-proof them as much as possible.”

The consultation’s submission form asks NZ citizens several questions, mostly in relation to harm reduction and the scope of growth the government should consider. One specific question that could have notable repercussions on the online gambling industry states: “Do you think New Zealanders should be prohibited or restricted from accessing online gambling websites and applications that are not licensed under the New Zealand regime?”

Currently, the majority of online gambling sites available to players in New Zealand are licensed abroad. A change to this rule would severely limit access to many online platforms but would also give the DIA the ability to enact safer regulations via locally managed platforms. The change would also channel the estimated NZ$2 million that gamblers spend monthly back into local businesses rather than out of the country. Speaking to the New Zealand Herald, Internal Affairs Minister Tracey Martin expressed her shock at the news: “This is big money coming out of New Zealand and we don’t know where those gamblers are or if they can afford to do so.”

While the problems require addressing, the DIA goes on to note that it does not intend to cripple the online gambling industry but to simply ensure that there are sufficient regulations in place to protect citizens.

Explosive growth raises concerns

The global online gambling industry has grown exponentially in the past decade, leading to a sharp rise in available platforms and ways to play. After local New Zealand casino operator SkyCity announced plans to launch its own online platform earlier this year, the DIA has begun looking into stricter regulation. Previously, only the state-run Lotto and sports betting site TAB have been licensed to offer online gambling services.

Founded in 1996, Auckland-based SkyCity Entertainment Group operates four of the six major land-based casinos in New Zealand and one in Australia. There is a concern that the new online platform, which SkyCity is planning in partnership with its Maltese subsidiary SkyCity Malta, could bring a wave of new gamblers into the sector. One of the first concerns that the DIA hopes to address is a ban on the use of credit cards for online gambling.

There are now many gambling directory sites that aim to offer comprehensive lists of reputable platforms, like the top-rated pokies for NZ based players. With largely unregulated growth expanding the online gambling industry globally, directory listing and review sites help to give players an idea of which sites are safer or more preferable to use.

The Gambling Commission of New Zealand, an independent body formed under the 2003 Gambling Act, also helps to regulate the industry and offers impartial investigations into legal issues related to licensing. It recently heard an appeal from SkyCity regarding a proposed change in its annual charitable trust donations which it hopes to align with funding received in previous years.