Kiwis are facing a rather peculiar situation when it comes to online gambling. While the interest in this industry is at an all time high with record revenue being recorded in the last 18 months, the government it seems is all set to curb the use of online casinos. The first step it is considering to achieve this goal is to by banning the use of credit cards. More specifically, the New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs is mulling over this move which was brought by the launch of SKYCITY Entertainment Group’s online site skycitycasino.com.
At present, Kiwis have the option of playing at the state run lottery and TAB. These are the only two authorised operators in New Zealand that are allowed to provide gambling related products. All other online casinos that are available to kiwis are being operated from outside the country such as Malta. The SkyCity Group has also followed suit and has partnered with the Gaming Innovation Group (GiG) to provide an online casino run out of Malta as well. By doing so it also is evading the existing NZ regulations.
What is the Credit Card Ban Hoping to Achieve?
No concrete details have been provided regarding the likelihood of the ban being enforced. The reason provided by the DIA is to protect local Kiwi gamblers from spending excessive amounts of money on online casinos. The news of the credit card ban comes hot off the heels of the UK Gambling Commission announcing a consultation on whether or not the UK should ban credit card internet gambling. As of now, Macquarie, an Australian bank is the only financial institution to have taken a step towards this move by blocking all transactions that are classified as gambling.
SKYCITY Enters the World of Online Casino
SkyCity’s Maltese arm, SkyCity Malta has agreed with the Gaming Innovation Group to launch their online casino, skycitycasino.com. GiG is a world-renowned brand that has launched several online casinos on its platform such as Dunder and Omnia Casino. The move to open up an online casino thereby evading the NZ legal framework has received mixed reactions. Those opposing the move are concerned by the introduction of another online casino to the NZ gambling landscape and how this would ultimately lead to an increase in problem gambling cases.
Andree Froude, spokesperson for Problem Gambling Foundation had the following to say regarding the situation “One of the risks of it is that you can sit in your lounge and you can gamble and no one can ever know. It can be a very hidden problem, not like alcohol or drug where people can see the signs or symptoms. It is likely that people will gamble on the sites because they know the brand and they need to make sure they have good host responsibility measures in place as well to protect people.”