New Zealand implements sweeping gambling laws
By maddy
Starting July 1st, new laws that will control the growth of gambling and restrict Internet gambling are expected to be implemented in New Zealand. Upon enforcement the new act also restricts interactive gambling by Internet, mobile and TV, to be conducted only through the Lotteries Commission and the TAB. However, New Zealanders will be able to bet on overseas websites.

According to the Department of Internal Affairs it will be harder to get gambling licenses and easier to lose them. The Gambling Act, which was passed last year and comes into effect tomorrow, does not allow for any more casinos and stops the six existing ones expanding their operations.

The Gambling Act 2003, which replaces the Gaming and Lotteries Act 1977 and the Casino Control Act 1990 gives powers to the newly established Gambling Commission to suspend and cancel casino licences. The department can now refuse to grant gambling licences unless applicants show they are suitable. Currently, the department must show applicants are unsuitable or grant them a licence or refuse unless applicants can show they will minimize the risks of problem gambling.

Pubs, clubs and casinos will need policies to identify and approach problem gamblers and people under 18 years of age will not be allowed use poker machines. The commission will now become an appeal body dealing with public and industry complaints about department decisions.

The Kiwi department estimates that the number of operators has already been reduced under the act. Community groups, such as schools, churches and clubs, can run housie games with prizes up to US$5000 without paying licensing and compliance fees, but not pokies.

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