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New Zealand Authorities Launch Crackdown on Overseas Operators

- April 16, 2015 By Nemanja L. -

New Zealand authorities launch action against foreign operators

New Zealand Government concerned by the growing number of Kiwis betting on overseas websites.

The Government of New Zealand has decided to take a strong action against offshore gaming operators in an attempt to protect the country’s sports betting and racing industry.

Nathan Guy, the Minister for Primary Industries and Racing, has recognized the problem and decided to form a working group that would find the best way to address the issue.

TAB Holds the Monopoly on Sports Betting

The New Zealand Racing Board (NZRB) is currently in charge of overseeing sports betting in the country and they operate TAB, the bookmaker that has the monopoly on all forms of sports betting in the country.

Under the current gambling regulation, TAB is required to return part of the profits back to the racing industry as well as perform socially responsible activities.

But, with online betting and mobile betting seeing huge growth over the last few years, New Zealand authorities are aware that a significant part of bettors place their sports betting wagers with overseas operators, thus cutting into the profits of TAB and the racing industry itself.

The Racing Ministry doesn’t want to see offshore companies profit from New Zealand punters as, unlike TAB, they are not required to contribute to the racing industry or national sporting organisations.

This was the main reason why the Government decided to establish a working group that will hopefully come up with a legal framework necessary to prevent the Kiwis from betting with overseas operators.

The new working group will be fronted by former Internal Affairs Minister Chris Tremain, who is also a former racehorse owner and has extensive knowledge of the horse racing industry.

$300 Million Per Year Placed at Overseas Websites

It is believed that New Zealand residents place some $300 million per year at overseas bookmakers, so it is hardly surprising the NZRB has decided to act.

According to the New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs (DIA), the Kiwis have wagered almost $2.1 billion on the four main forms of gambling in 2014.

The punters were heavily involved in betting on racing, lotteries, casinos and gambling machines, although casino revenue has seen a drop in earnings.

Under the Gambling Act of 2003, gambling is deemed legal in New Zealand, while the country residents are not forbidden from playing at overseas websites.

However, with the government and the racing industry clearly losing money with each bet placed outside of TAB, a new bill to said gambling law could be on the cards.

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