Online gambling is more lucrative than it has ever been. The internet is available almost everywhere, meaning that gambling is more accessible. More important is that operators can easily offer their services across borders. The question is, how do gambling laws apply to cross border gambling activities? Offshore online casinos are easy to access in New Zealand, but are they legal according to The Gambling Act of 2003?
New Zealanders should be aware of what laws apply. Especially when engaging in services that aren’t being offered locally. This article will give an overview of The Gambling Act of 2003. It will also focus on how the law applies to all online casinos available within New Zealand borders.
Covering The Basics
The Gambling Act of 2003 was established to regulate gambling in New Zealand. It pays special attention to casinos, the lottery, sports betting and horse racing. The act specifies that a New Zealander must be at least 18 to participate in certain lotteries, horse racing and sports betting. It also specifies that 20 is the minimum age to enter into a land based casino. There is currently no age restriction for Lotto, Bulls Eye and Keno.
The Gambling Act does mention online casinos. According to the law online casino are illegal in New Zealand, except for a pair of state-run options. The local organisations are legally allowed to offer online gambling are the New Zealand. They are the Lottery Commission and TAB.
Therefore it is illegal for private locally based organisation to offer online gambling. The trick is that these laws do not apply to operators based outside New Zealand. Hence, it’s not illegal for locals to make use of online gambling services if the operator is based outside the country.
It’s also important to note that the law focuses on regulating companies rather than individuals. A local company offering illegal online gambling would be at great risk from the law. An individual using online gambling services is not at risk of facing legal action. In this regard, The Gambling Act is not as restrictive to individual online gamblers as it seems on the surface.
Regulating Offshore Online Casinos
The New Zealand government does regulate offshore online casino’s advertising. The organizations are allowed to offer services but may not advertise those services. If any company breaks this regulation it faces a fine of up to $10,000.
There is a perception that offshore online casinos are not licensed. This is not true. The majority of the operators are licensed and fully regulated in their own country. Most even have outstanding reputations. A few unlicensed sites do exist but are generally avoided by local gamblers. It’s thus important that New Zealanders be careful about where they choose to gamble online.
New Zealand’s Approach To Online Casinos
Many locals are confused about the government’s approach to online gambling. With only a pair of state-run companies, the majority of the online market is neglected. The fact is that the New Zealand government prefers the simplicity of having to regulate just 2 organisations.
The state owned organisations do good business and grant the local economy a steady income. Various social development and wellness projects benefit from the online casino generated tax. Many problem gambling initiatives are also reliant on the income. It is all part of the government’s plan to use online gambling for the benefit of the country.
Online casinos in New Zealand are simply great entertainment for most. On the other hand there are those that struggle with problem gambling habits. The government does a great deal to monitor gambling and ensure that vulnerable individuals aren’t at risk. A middle ground has been reached where the services are available, but with considered limitations in place.
As far as offshore online casinos are concerned, the situation is more complicated. Since the organizations are outside of New Zealand’s jurisdiction they are not monitored. The operators are still licensed in their own country and must still follow rules. As to which rules are followed is up to the country in question. In general, sensitive data encryption and overspending safeguards are required.
Online gambling is a globe-spanning industry with complicated problems. Countries are keen on harnessing the revenue generating potential but struggle to create appropriate legislature. Guidelines and regulations are necessary however, creating loophole proof laws a challenge.
The New Zealand government has done much to keep its own online gambling industry under control. The state-run options are available and have been harnessed for the benefit of the country. Offshore options are also available and are not locally regulated. Therefore, Kiwis need to consider where the reach of local law enforcement ends.