Media reports from New Zealand indicate that the government, urged on by the
New Zealand Racing Board, is considering legislation that would enable the industry to get a cut of bets placed by New Zealanders with overseas gambling companies.
Current legislation empowers the New Zealand Racing Board (NZRB) as the only New Zealand-based provider of racing and sports betting through the government-mandated Totalisator Agency Board (TAB), and the NZRB distributes the profits back to domestic racing and sports.
On Friday NZ’s racing minister, Nathan Guy, released proposed changes to the Racing Act designed to ensure returns from betting continue to support New Zealand racing and sport organisations.
“A working group has found that a growing number of New Zealanders are gambling through offshore betting agencies, which raises a number of issues,” Guy said in a statement.
“In 2015, about 40,000 New Zealanders turned over NZ$ 518 million (US$ 356.54 million) offshore with NZ$ 58 million (US$ 39.92 million) in losses — this represents potential lost revenue of up to NZ$ 45 million (US$ 30.97 million) for local racing and sports organisations.”
The TAB also ensured proceeds from gambling supported local sporting and racing activities and that punters operated within a regulatory framework that minimised gambling harm, the minister pointed out.
“Neither of these things occurs when people bet with offshore providers,” said Guy, adding that the government’s proposals were intended to make the TAB more competitive and help ensure offshore providers paid their fair share of support.
The proposals include a consumption fee for offshore gambling operators accepting bets from New Zealand and a “use of data” fee for offshore gambling operators using New Zealand race and sport data.
“These proposals are not designed to get more people gambling – it’s about attracting New Zealand money currently gambled overseas back within our framework. This will support local racing and sports and better mitigate gambling harm,” Guy said.
“The New Zealand racing industry is a major contributor to the economy. It generates NZ$ 1.6 billion (US$1.1 billion) in gross domestic product and provides for 17,000 full-time jobs.”