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Silly gambling law

  • July 28th, 2008

I presented Select Committee submissions on the internet gambling provisions of the Gambling Amendment Bill.

Originally instructed by a Christchurch company which had a couple of dozen people developing software and providing services to offshore web gambling companies, by the time we got to the committee the client had given up in disgust. Meetings with the Minister and officials were a waste of time.

Peter Dunne offered support but the clients saw no sign of it in the end. Rick Barker, the relevant Minister looked to be putty in the hands of his officials.I wonder whether Winston Peters’ horse racing affiliations trumped all in this area.

Here is today’s report of how the clients are  faring since they exported themselves, their incomes and their initiative.

With another Chapman Tripp lawyer I presented the arguments to the Select Committee anyway. We’d drafted provisions for a regulatory regime to supervise (and tax) local providers of internet gambling services. The proposal was for their licences to allow them to offer internationally, but not to NZ punters. Even that was of no interest to officials.

We submitted to the Select Committee with the client’s pemission but no payment, out of concern that the current law and DIA attitudes are giving New Zealand the worst combination of outcomes. 

New Zealanders are free to gamble on the internet. International promoters are free to offer odds on NZ events. Being outside our laws, there is no harm-minimisation, no integrity assurance for our punters,  and no revenue to New Zealand on the New Zealand events.

The law forbids New Zealanders from offering those services to New Zealanders (unless the TAB and NZ Racing choose to do it). They do not so choose. So all those gambling profits flow out of New Zealand.

Over two years ago the UK ended its prohibitions and licensed operators are free to offer what they like, where they like, provided they submit to honesty audits and pay UK taxes. Internet gambling is respectable and booming.

The US is still counter-attacking, but Australia is now host to major internet gambling operators. You may have heard of the odds Centrebet offers on things like the NZ elections.

So by our own law we confine ourselves to being permanently the dumb punters, mulcted for the profit of foreigners, with no prospect of any offsetting profit or tax to New Zealand, and without even the capacity to know what the smart operators are up to..


  • Anonymous
  • August 8th, 2008
  • 10:19 am

I love betting with the overseas outfits.
They give better odds and options than the
tab and I’m quite happy to see the profit they deserve , by being better , go to them
who deserve it rather than to the NZ govt
and their mates and associated parasites.


There’s clearly wasting going on everywhere.


Corruption at its finest. Wasted funds indeed.

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