Online Gaming and Potential Gambling Act and Regulation Amendments

2 May 2019

Yesterday afternoon Clubs New Zealand staff met with DIA team members to discuss online gambling and the DIA's Class 4 Regulatory Work Programme.

Online Gambling

New Zealand has a general prohibition on the provision of online gambling.  Section 9(2) of the Gambling Act 2003 expressly provides that "remote interactive gambling" (online gambling) is illegal unless it is authorised under the Act.  The only providers authorised to offer online gambling products are the Lotteries Commission (Lotto NZ) and The New Zealand Racing Board (TAB).

What is the policy issue?  The general prohibition on providing online gambling does not prevent New Zealanders from gambling online with providers based outside New Zealand (although advertising for such products in New Zealand is prohibited).

An increase in online gambling looks to challenge New Zealand's traditional public health approach to gambling regulation.  Unlike domestic gambling operators, offshore online gambling operators do not pay to mitigate the harm their industry causes nor do they contribute to the community through funding grants.  While most offshore gambling operators are reputable, with gambling harm minimisation practices in place, New Zealand has no say in what those practices are and no ability to enforce compliance on behalf of New Zealanders.

And this is where the conversation begins.  The DIA are looking for input from key stakeholders it may be that the status quo remains or that policy is developed to restrict access to online gambling, require online gambling providers to be licensed in New Zealand etc.

What we would like from member clubs is your thoughts.  Has your club experienced a decline in machine use/turnover as a result of online gambling (this can be anecdotal evidence).  Have you had a member access online gambling while in the club?

Please send your thoughts or information to lucy@clubsnz.com as soon as possible.

Class 4 Regulatory Work Programme

The Gambling Act 2003 has been around for 16 years now.  At the time it was written we were on the cusp of many technological advancements - but we weren't quite there yet and the act is reflective of that time. 

The DIA have identified that the Act is out of date and too prescriptive which is where the regulatory work programme comes in.

Essentially the department is looking to compile a master list of any potential amendments that are required to bring the act up to date, improve its efficiency and effectiveness and will allow the regulator to focus on harm reduction.

The department is interested in understanding the pain points for clubs - the things that really give you grief no matter how big or how small.

The department have produced an initial summary of possible amendments which you can download below;

Gambling Act and regulations possible amendments summary document

This work provides a huge opportunity for clubs and we need all members to provide feedback on the things within the Gambling Act 2003 and associated regulations that keep you up at night.  You can follow the format of the summary document above, you can send us a list in an email, it doesn't matter what format it just matters that all clubs are involved.

Please email your thoughts to lucy@clubsnz.com as soon as possible, this work will kick off quickly.

Legislative vehicles

Possibilities include:

For minor efficiency and effectiveness improvements to existing legislative scheme

  1. Statutes Amendment Bill – for short, technical and non-controversial amendments to legislation (need support of all parties)
  2. Regulatory System Bill – enables small amendments to a number of Bills that may not meet SAB criteria to proceed together
  3. Reg changes – go through Cabinet process and then to Executive Council before being notified in the Gazette – bundle could progress through single Cabinet paper (provided appropriate regulation making powers already in place).

For more significant reform

  1. Gambling Act Amendment Bill
  2. Substantive review of the Act

Possible criteria for changes

  • Ease of implementation
  • Reduced compliance cost
  • Reduced administrative cost
  • Improved transparency
  • Future focused
  • Increased flexibility
  • Improved customer focus

If you have comments or questions regarding the above please contact lucy@clubsnz.com

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