Lawmakers in New Zealand have been taking a closer look at the online gambling industry. For years, foreign gambling websites have been able to promote their services in the country without paying money to the government. But recently, politicians have discussed ways to change online gambling laws in New Zealand.
Like many other countries, New Zealand is looking for a way to generate revenue from the internet gambling industry. There are even some that feel gambling over the internet should be banned. Let’s look at what’s being discussed right now.
We’ve reported on New Zealand’s gambling industry for months. This country has a strange set of gambling laws that makes it illegal for any private companies based in New Zealand to offer online gambling services to individuals inside the country. Only the state-run Lotto NZ and TAB companies can offer limited forms of internet gambling. Interestingly, foreign gaming websites are allowed to operate here.
New Zealand is well-known for having one of the most passionate sporting fan bases in the world. There are a huge number of individuals here that place sports bets online through , as most of them they are accessible to NZ residents. The government earns no money from these companies.
The current set of laws here are definitely unusual, and several companies have found ways around them. SkyCity, which operates the largest casino in New Zealand, recently launched an online casino that operates out of Malta. Because it’s based in another country, it’s able to operate inside of New Zealand.
Several politicians are now pushing against this. Tracey Martin, Minister of Social Affairs, is actively calling for online gambling laws in New Zealand to change. Whether this means setting new restrictions on the gaming industry or forcing foreign companies to pay taxes is unknown. This week, the government began discussing plans to censor internet gambling websites that operate here.
New Zealand’s Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) has been discussing the online gambling industry for months. The launch of SkyCity’s new internet betting website seems to have pushed lawmakers to question just how effective their current laws really are. The DIA recently proposed new legislation to censor foreign online gambling websites from running in the country.
Many quickly began fighting against these plans. Public health officials claim that these laws would help to grow the gambling industry by allowing New Zealand-based companies to run gambling sites. Digital rights advocates claim that it’s illegal for the government to block access to gambling websites based in other countries.
There seems to be no way for the government to make everyone happy. They desperately want to earn money from the lucrative gaming industry, yet can’t agree on exactly how to change the current set of online gambling laws in New Zealand. The DIA proposed a plan to geo-block foreign gambling sites, yet this too is unlikely to happen anytime soon.
“If the gambling sites themselves block New Zealanders from connecting, then that would constitute as ‘geo-blocking’. However, if the Government is doing the blocking, this would in fact be government filtering of the Internet,”
said CEO of InternetNZ Jordan Carter.
Lawmakers in this country certainly have their work cut out for them. The DIA is willing to hear new proposals from the general public. Submissions will stop being accepted at the end of September.
As of now, the government is proposing four main changes to online gambling laws in New Zealand. One of these is a complete ban on using credit cards for gambling. This would help individuals to avoid going into debt while gambling online.
The proposal that most individuals feel will benefit the country is to allow both domestic and foreign gambling websites to legally operate here. Creating a licensing structure for companies in and out of New Zealand will lead to healthy competition and more gambling options for locals. It will also help the government to better regulate the industry and protect those with gambling addiction issues.
It’s anyone’s guess what will happen. The DIA has declined to comment on the future of the country’s online gaming industry. Make sure to stay tuned for updates on the situation over the next few weeks.
How do you think online gambling laws in New Zealand should change? Let us know in the comment section below!
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