New Zealand Begins Public Consultation On Online Gambling Interest
New Zealand is considering opening its doors to more online gambling operators and wants to know what the general public think of the proposal.
The government will launch a public consultation process to gauge public interest in a wider online gaming market that is locally regulated.
The Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) is heading the consultation process with interested parties encouraged to register their sentiments on the agency’s official government portal, www.dia.govt.nz. The consultation is set to run until September 30, 2019.
Currently, the country only has two authorized online gambling providers, NZ TAB and Lotto NZ, both being state-run entities. However, it is not illegal for New Zealanders to gamble through offshore providers.
The DIA estimates that in the past 18 months alone, Kiwis coughed up an estimated $251 million to wager at internationally-licensed online gambling platforms. This amounts to over $2.1 million spent on online gambling every month.
In potentially authorizing more locally-regulated operators, the New Zealand government hopes to channel more gambling revenue back into the country and persuade Kiwis to stay away from offshore gambling sites.
The DIA also underscored that New Zealand’s gambling legislation dates back to 2003 and may need to be amended to adapt to the more modern and constantly changing online gambling market.
4 Viable Online Gambling Expansion Options
The agency has outlined four viable options in its consultation document: (1) upholding the status quo, (2) extending the gambling products Lotto and TAB can offer, (3) licensing domestic operators or (4) licensing both domestic and overseas operators.
In launching the consultation, the DIA confirmed that it does not intend to bar Kiwis from online betting in offshore platforms, but only aims to future-proof New Zealand’s gambling laws. The agency is also seeking means to manage the potential gambling-related harms unregulated online gaming can cause in the country.
The DIA is taking steps to better regulate the online gambling market in New Zealand. Some of its proposed measures include banning or stringently regulating advertising for online gambling, prohibiting the use of credit cards in online gaming, as well as pooling funding for programs that can address gambling-related harms in the near future.
New Zealand based SkyCity Entertainment Group has already announced interest in launching its own gambling platform geared to cater to the Kiwi market via an operation based out of Malta. The company states that it went ahead with this offshore operation as it expects online gambling to be regulated in New Zealand in the near future.