Government needs to update its legislation to protect vulnerable people from offshore gambling sites, a Dunedin counsellor says. The call comes after the Government opened public consultation on online gambling. PGF counsellors provide free, professional and confidential counselling for gamblers and people affected by gambling.
Many people talked to her about gambling online with offshore operators. “Everyone has smartphone so its very easy to access.”
Although it was prohibited for foreign online gambling operators to publicize to New Zealanders, they had ways to direct internet users to their sites. Local gambling operators had to be accountable hosts, giving gamblers some sense of protection.
Internal Affairs Minister, Tracey Martin, said that betting offshore was legal, and people of New Zealand had used up about $380 million on offshore gambling sites in the previous 18 months.
Mrs. Martin said:
Offshore online gambling operators did not contribute to the community as compare to local gambling operators, through funding grants.
A discussion document had been launched seeking feedback on a range of options such as establishing a licensing system, where online providers must meet certain conditions to be able to legally offer their services in New Zealand.
“This is what Australia and the United Kingdom do.”
Other possibilities include geoblocking contact to overseas gambling sites or restricting the use of credit cards for online gambling. The public consultation runs until the end of next month.
Ms. Cambridge encouraged people to make a submission, especially if they knew of anyone who had lost money to an overseas gambling operator.