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New Zealand Gambling Bill Puts Lottery Online

12 September 2003

New Zealand's Parliament voted Thursday 62-52 in favor of adopting a new gambling bill. A clause added just days before the vote permits New Zealand's Lotteries Commission to operate on the Internet.

The Lotteries Commission joins TAB in becoming one of only two gaming companies licensed under the bill to operate online. Both companies, however, are restricted to selling only products that are normally sold through their retail networks. The Lotteries Commission is thus limited to selling only lottery products and TAB, which has been online since 1998, may offer only sports, dog and horse betting.

Online casinos are, therefore, not permitted, and new companies are not allowed to enter New Zealand's I-gaming market.

The lottery has said it plans to take advantage of the legislation by offering text-messaging products, services that enable customers to pick lottery numbers via telephone, scratch cards that reveal a code which can be entered into an Internet game and perhaps even interactive TV services.

The acting CEO for TAB, Jim Leach, said "We are concerned at the emphasis in the bill to the treatment of problem gamblers and the clear expectation that there will be a significant budget taken from gaming providers to fund this."

Yet, although the bill contains provisions that appropriate money from gambling companies toward problem gambling programs, many political figures in New Zealand have launched complaints that the bill is "anti-family" and doesn't do enough.

In fact, Progressive Deputy Leader Matt Robson has said that his party is so disappointed with the bill's treatment of problem gambling that "The Progressives will introduce a Private Member's Bill to reform gambling laws and do more to protect families from problem gamblers."

Despite their criticism, the Progressives voted in favor of the new bill.

Most critics of the bill address their complaints to the United Future party, which was a strong proponent of the bill and even added several new clauses this week, including the one that permits the lottery to go online.

National Party MP Judith Collins called the clause allowing the lottery to go online "the worst anti-family provision."

"People will be able to go online with credit cards. They don't even have to get out of bed to gamble. It's a 24-hour activity and it's going to be taking money out of the communities that can least afford to lose it," Collins said.

United Future MP Marc Alexander defended his party's stance, saying, "The bill arose from a long-standing review of the whole industry and was designed to regulate gambling, not ban it. United Future took the pragmatic and commonsense view that we should deal with reality--what is--not idealism, which is what is hoped for."

He added, "In line with that logic, United Future looked at Internet gambling, which already occurs in New Zealand and which cannot be prevented without cutting New Zealand off electronically from the rest of the world, and decided that at least some of the money which now all goes overseas should be retained in New Zealand and used for the benefit of the New Zealand community. Money which currently fills the pockets of overseas providers of Internet gambling will, upon enactment of the bill, be a source of revenue for the gambling levy, and so be part of the solution to dealing with gambling problems."

Meanwhile, the Lotteries Commission has suggested that it could control problem gambling by registering players and setting a $100 weekly betting limit.

The bill also establishes a gambling commission to regulate the industry in conjunction with the Department of Internal Affairs, bans new casinos and the expansion of new ones, retains local distribution of poker machine profits, cuts the present limit of gaming machines per house in half (to nine), funds problem gambling services through a levy on operators, abolishes the Casino Control Authority and restricts poker machine banknote acceptors to $20 banknotes or less.

New Zealand Gambling Bill Puts Lottery Online is republished from iGamingNews.com.
Bradley Vallerius

Bradley P. Vallerius, JD manages For the Bettor Good, a comprehensive resource for information related to Internet gaming policy in the U.S. federal and state governments. For the Bettor Good provides official government documents, jurisdiction updates, policy analysis, and many other helpful research materials.

Bradley has been researching and writing about the business and law of internet gaming since 2003. His work has covered all aspects of the industry, including technology, finance, advertising, taxation, poker, betting exchanges, and laws and regulations around the world.

Bradley Vallerius Websites:

www.FortheBettorGood.com
Bradley Vallerius
Bradley P. Vallerius, JD manages For the Bettor Good, a comprehensive resource for information related to Internet gaming policy in the U.S. federal and state governments. For the Bettor Good provides official government documents, jurisdiction updates, policy analysis, and many other helpful research materials.

Bradley has been researching and writing about the business and law of internet gaming since 2003. His work has covered all aspects of the industry, including technology, finance, advertising, taxation, poker, betting exchanges, and laws and regulations around the world.

Bradley Vallerius Websites:

www.FortheBettorGood.com