Gambling is a hugely popular past time in New Zealand. It’s estimated that over $2 billion each year is spent on the activity and over 40% of adults bet on a semi-regular basis. Interestingly gambling was not really commercialised in New Zealand until the 1990s, but since then the industry has grown to such an extent that it’s had to be heavily regulated, with caps being put on the number of casinos and betting venues allowed in the country.
Online gambling has not escaped the regulatory powers that be in New Zealand, in fact, the government department of Internal Affairs brought out the Gambling Act of 2003 to deal with the growth in remote interactive gambling in the country sa gaming. The law is pretty straight forward, it states that any remote interactive gambling in New Zealand (internet, TV, telephone etc) must be operated by the TAB (Totalizator Agency Board) or the New Zealand Lotteries Commission. These are both government-run operations that are used for community fund-raising and are not for profit.
So players in New Zealand can gamble online through both these sources, but also the law states that it is not illegal for Kiwis to gamble at online casinos on foreign (overseas-based) sites. The reason for this is that New Zealand law cannot be enforced overseas and the government thought it would be impossible to enforce. However, it is illegal for overseas companies to advertise their product online and overseas sites can never run their operations from New Zealand.
The main thing for New Zealand online gamblers to be aware of is the fact that although it’s legal for them to play on overseas-based casinos, not all of them are trustworthy… Proper checks should always be taken out by online players before investing their hard-earned cash into a foreign gambling site. The reason for this is that as the sites are based overseas there is very little protection that can be offered toplayers if something goes wrong.
The recommend process for checking that a foreign-based site is legitimate is to look at the following areas; banking options, where the company is licensed, where the customer support is based, whether the company independently audited by a respected organisation (such as KPMG), how long have the company been in business for, what is their payment processing like and finally to do some research online to see if other Kiwis have played on the site and can recommend it.
The first appearance of online casinos in the mid 90’s sparked the beginning of a new era, utilizing the internet in a way unimagined of before. Online Gambling had begun and was set to become one of the webs most popular pastimes!
Some of the first few online casinos that appeared, have, rather remarkably, survived the test of time and have become leaders in their field. Others however, were one hit wonders and due to poor marketing coupled with abysmal customer support they failed miserably and disappeared shortly after opening.
Of course, some were run by genuine businesses wanting to build a reputation for fairness and integrity and stand the test of time in an up and coming, lucrative, market. These were the unfortunates that tried hard but failed.
With all new markets however, the conmen will appear, ripping off customers and grabbing as much of other peoples cash as they can without any morals, scruples or sympathy.
Unfortunately the online gaming market has picked up more than its fair share of these conmen since its inception and this led, in many peoples minds to the whole industry being tarred with the same brush.
The Press also has a part to play their dogged determination to knock online gambling as often as possible, citing cases of addiction. Of course, where fortunes can be won there will always be an element of addiction. However, these cases are fairly rare and the vast majority of people can gamble small amounts responsibly. Look at how many have a weekly flutter on the lotto without any problems whatsoever.
It’s worth noting at this point that the industry in general, over the past few years, has somewhat gained a reputation for fairness and security. The conmen are now few and far between, although admittedly, some still exist. The leading sites also have measures in place so that problem gamblers get help with their addiction and are often barred from playing.