NZ Minister Calls For Free-Play Casino Ads To Be Banned Immediately
Tracey Martin, New Zealand's Minister for Internal Affairs wants the country's gambling laws be rewritten to stop online casinos from advertising on New Zealand television.
This is in response to the investigation done by the online magazine ‘The Spinoff’ on how JackpotCity, an online casino licensed in Malta, has been advertising its free-play casino site on Kiwi television.
The investigation states that the advertisement is a sneaky way to convince customers to visit the site.
However, there are no existing laws that can technically stop JackpotCity from promoting their website on television.
This was proven in October 2017, when a New Zealand citizen complained to the New Zealand Advertising Standards Authority about the promotion of real-money gambling on TV, with JackpotCity as the target of the complaint. However, the country’s watchdog said that there were no grounds for the complaint.
This is where minister Tracey Martin comes in. She was quoted by the Spinoff as saying that the government needs to put in legislation to help manage the new developments in the gambling industry like online gambling ads. New Zealand's laws about gambling have not been updated since 2003 and Martin believes they need a makeover immediately.
Spirit Of The Law Violated
Martin acknowledged that both MediaWorks, the owner of the television channel of where the ads appeared and JackpotCity were technically in the clear when it comes to the wording of the law. However, she said that her department has already written to MediaWorks about the broadcasting company technically breaking the spirit of the law.
The letter to MediaWorks requested that it consider stopping the airing of JackpotCity ads but so far MediaWorks is yet to respond to the letter. Martin is now looking to sway public opinion and get their support and a push for gambling legislation to be updated gains momentum.
In a statement, Martin said
So the New Zealand public has to come with us on this, we can't just be the big stick, the public really has to say, ‘we agree, this is inappropriate, and we're going to start writing multitudes of letters to the CEO.
It is not just online casinos advertising that Martin has targeted. She also points out that New Zealand's Totalisator Agency Board (TAB) has been as aggressive about betting offers and incentives in e-mails. The TAB has a monopoly on sports betting in the country and this aggressive marketing should be part of the conversation about gambling advertising. Martin hopes to bring it up in the cabinet in the coming weeks.