The PGF Services counsellor for the second largest city in the South Island of New Zealand is adamant that the government needs to do more to tackle problem gambling. Fiona Cambridge believes an update of the legislation is overdue to protect vulnerable people from offshore gambling sites.
It is completely legal for Kiwis to play on online casinos that are offshore. Even the largest gambling group in New Zealand, SkyCity has set up a partnership with the Gaming Innovation Group (GiG) to open its own real money casino maintained and operated from Malta.
Online gambling is extremely popular in New Zealand and Internal Affairs Minister, Tracey Martin has spoken about its potential on many occasions. According to the figures, kiwis had spent around NZ $380 million on online casinos NZ in the last 18 months. However, unlike the local casinos, the offshore sites do not contribute towards the community through funding grants said Mrs. Martin.
A discussion document has been launched with the intent of seeking feedback on establishing policies for online casinos. Ideas put forth include setting up a licensing system whereby offshore operators will be required to meet certain criteria to be able to offer their services legally to NZ players. Other ideas discussed include geo-blocking access to overseas gambling operators and banning the use of credit cards for online gambling. The public consultation is expected to run till the end of the month.
Ms. Cambridge is aware of the dangers to society that online gambling may pose and has therefore encouraged the public to make their submissions. She has urged those that know friends, family members that have lost money to an offshore online casino.