For years, lawmakers in New Zealand have discussed adding new regulations toward the country’s online gambling industry. Many here feel that the country is not profiting off what is a multimillion-dollar a year industry. This week, news is coming out that new laws toward online gambling in New Zealand are being seriously considered.
Things are definitely changing here. Today, we’re looking at the current set of gambling laws in New Zealand. We’ll also check out what lawmakers here are now considering.
Gambling has taken place in New Zealand for centuries. At the beginning of the 20th century, officials in the government decided to put heavy restrictions on gambling both land-based and online. For nearly 100 years, very few forms of legal gambling were available here.
In 2003, lawmakers decided to set new laws on the gambling industry. The 2003 Gambling Act declared that all forms of gambling are banned unless specifically authorized by the government. It also deemed it illegal for New Zealand companies to launch online gambling websites.
Interestingly, these laws did not make it illegal to gambling online through websites based in other countries. As a result, many people here choose to make their bets online through gambling sites in Europe. The internet gambling market has grown tremendously here over the past decade.
Many are now calling for New Zealand to modernize its gambling laws. This week, officials in the country are launching a public consultation to see whether or not the public supports new gambling regulations. Let’s look at what exactly is happening here.
As we just mentioned, government officials here are asking for public opinion on online gambling regulations. Officials recognize that the gambling industry is evolving. They’re taking a closer look at the Gambling Act of 2003, and how it applies today.
“In 2003 internet technology was still developing. Social media was in its infancy. Cell phones weren’t yet smart and people connected to the internet using cables,” said Tracy Martin, Minister for Official Affairs.
The government also wants to ensure that all forms of online gambling are safe. At the moment, gambling websites are able to operate in New Zealand without any government oversight. They also pay no taxes to the government.
A government-sponsored study claims that more than 70% of New Zealanders over the age of 15 claimed to have gambled over the past year. 5% of these individuals are problem gamblers. With regulation over online gambling in New Zealand, the government can help to stop gambling addiction from becoming a more serious issue.
Gambling revenue has been increasing here for the past several years. From 2017 to 2018, gambling revenue in this country reached $1.43 billion. When adding the amount of money spent on unregulated online gambling sites, this number increases significantly.
At the moment, the only internet gambling options that are legal are Lotto NZ and TAB. The government is now asking locals for their opinion on expansion. There are a few options to better regulate online gambling in New Zealand.
One would be to expand the options that Lotto NZ and TAB currently offer. If these websites began providing players with as many gambling options as the offshore sites, more locals would choose to play at them. The government may also decide to completely ban foreign gambling websites, essentially closing off the country’s internet gambling industry.
The last option is for New Zealand to create a regulatory framework for foreign gambling websites to legally operate in the country. This would help bring in millions of dollars for the government each month.
It’s clear that the government is putting more thought into the regulation of online gambling in New Zealand. Do you think lawmakers should begin regulating and taxing the internet gambling industry? Is a ban on offshore operators on the horizon? Let us know in the comments section below!
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