by Nicole Skalbeck on July 3, 2023

Will New Zealand Be Blocked From The International Gambling Market?

New Zealand’s iGaming industry has witnessed significant growth in recent years, propelled by the increasing popularity of online gambling platforms. However, amidst this burgeoning market, there are concerns surrounding the potential for blocking access to the New Zealand online gambling market. This article explores the landscape of the iGaming industry in New Zealand and delves into the factors that could lead to market blockage.

As governments worldwide grapple with the regulatory challenges associated with online gambling, New Zealand faces its own unique considerations, including legal frameworks, potential restrictions, and the protection of local players. By examining these factors, we can gain insights into the future prospects and potential hurdles for the iGaming industry in New Zealand.

Online Gambling Market in New Zealand

The gambling market in New Zealand has been quite successful, with a significant number of players engaging in various forms of gambling activities. The country’s permissive gambling laws, coupled with a strong cultural inclination towards gaming, have contributed to the industry’s growth and popularity.

The gambling market has experienced continuous growth, propelled by technological advancements and the emergence of online gambling platforms. The convenience and ease of access provided by online casinos and sports betting websites have played a significant role in driving the market’s expansion. Moreover, the proliferation of smartphones and mobile apps has further accelerated the growth of the iGaming sector, allowing players to enjoy their favorite games on the go. So there are many great casinos including the best online casino in New Zealand which offer gamblers plenty of possibilities.

One notable trend in the New Zealand gambling market is the increasing emphasis on responsible gambling. The government and regulatory bodies have actively promoted initiatives to address problem gambling and ensure player protection. This includes measures such as self-exclusion programs, mandatory information on gambling risks, and the establishment of gambling addiction helplines. The focus on responsible gambling reflects a commitment to creating a safe and sustainable gambling environment for New Zealanders.

One prominent example of successful companies in the New Zealand gambling market is the New Zealand Racing Board (NZRB). NZRB operates the TAB (Totalisator Agency Board), which offers a wide range of sports and racing betting options. The TAB has a strong presence in the country and has adapted to the online realm, catering to the changing preferences of players.

Another successful player in the market is SkyCity Entertainment Group, which operates several land-based casinos across New Zealand. SkyCity has also ventured into the online space with its online casino platform, providing players with a comprehensive gaming experience.

In recent years, international iGaming companies have also made their mark in the New Zealand market. For instance, Betway, an established online betting operator, has gained popularity among New Zealand players with its diverse betting options and user-friendly platform. Similarly, 888 Holdings, a global leader in online gambling, has successfully captured the New Zealand market with its extensive game offerings and strong reputation.

Why There is A Chance of Blocking?

If the New Zealand government fails to intervene and address the “aggressive targeting” from offshore providers, the unregulated online gambling market in the country is projected to reach a value of $600 million by 2025.

Recently, Christchurch Casino announced its plans to launch an online gambling site based in Malta. This move follows SkyCity’s introduction of its own online casino product in 2019, making it the second New Zealand-owned online casino operated out of Malta.

The decision to establish these online casinos in Malta stems from the fact that, apart from Lotto and TAB, providing online gambling services within New Zealand is illegal. On the other hand, New Zealanders are permitted to engage in gambling activities on offshore websites without facing legal consequences.These offshore platforms that target the New Zealand market are not subject to local laws, regulations, or taxes, although they are prohibited from advertising.

Furthermore, InternetNZ has warned that employing technology to prevent New Zealanders from accessing offshore gambling websites is unlikely to yield the desired results. Instead, the government may explore other options, such as implementing measures that make it more challenging for individuals to deposit funds with offshore betting firms. The Minister for Racing, Kieran McAnulty, recently made an announcement stating that the Cabinet had reached a preliminary agreement to prohibit New Zealanders from engaging in betting activities with online bookmakers operating from foreign jurisdictions.

One potential method that has been suggested is the use of “geoblocking,” which would involve requiring internet providers to disable access to these websites for their New Zealand customers. However, InternetNZ CEO Vivien Maidaborn expressed concerns about the effectiveness of geoblocking, stating that it is easily circumvented using tools like virtual private networks (VPNs).

Maidaborn emphasized the importance of thorough community consultation before implementing any government-mandated content blocking, as it could undermine trust in the internet and the government. The government’s motivations for potentially blocking overseas gambling sites include protecting returns to the racing industry and addressing concerns about weaker problem-gambling limitations on offshore platforms.

By Nicole Skalbeck

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