New Zealand looking to ban the use of credit cards for online gambling

by Ethan Anderson Last Updated
MP to push gambling credit card ban in parliament

New Zealand’s Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) are planning to implement a ban on using credit cards for online gambling.

The New Zealand Times reports that the intentions of the gambling regulatory body in the country follow online casino operator SKYCITY Entertainment Group’s launch of an online casino for New Zealand players.

The new online casino will only be available to players physically located in New Zealand, with the operator actually licensed and operational from Malta.

The TAB is currently the only locally-based online gambling operators in the country, who offer sports betting and the state-run lottery.

With the addition of the first major private online gambling platform, the plans of the DIA appear to reflect a concern of players overspending with the new operator.

Citizens of New Zealand are able to play online casino games and access foreign-based online casinos, however the ‘New Zealand’ specific operator presence within the gaming market may pose a temptation for overspending with locals.

A New Zealand government official was noted saying that the existing online gambling laws may need some revision to “ensure that they are fit for purpose.”

The government has also been looking into ways to ban illegal and offshore gambling operations that may be defrauding players and in turn, siphoning currency out of the country.

With SkyCity, an offshore-licensed company has brought issues with local casino and gambling outfits which also wish to open online platforms in the country.

Public consultation launched in July

The New Zealand DIA launched a public consultation in July to gather information from the public on how they think the government should proceed with the measures. The consultation ran until September 30th with the data now being reviewed by the DIA’s online gambling team.

In the same month, Macquarie became the first bank in Australia to implement a ban on the use of credit cards for any gambling-related activities. Similar measures are currently also being considered in the UK by its local regulatory body, the UK Gambling Commission. However, UK Gaming Commission fears the ban may force players to seek out riskier alternatives if they can no longer gain access to traditional credit.

“Gambling with borrowed money is known to be a risk factor for consumers, so we think there is a need for action,” said UK Gambling Commission Director Paul Hope.

The notion of credit cards being a risk to the user is that some people mightn’t see the expense as ‘real money’.

This extends to retail shoppers who aren’t gambling having been noted as attributing less value to expenses made by credit card.

With using a credit card for gambling debt, the gambler may rationalise the transaction that any debt incurred will be paid off via a winning transaction.

On opening the online casino in August this year, chief executive Graeme Stephens said in a statement “”While ultimately a regulated online gaming market remains the preferred solution, the site launch is another step on our journey of pursuing opportunities to grow and diversify our earnings, addressing a new, fast-growing industry which is highly complementary to our land-based activities and offering customers a multi-channel gaming experience.”

The casino also said that it “remains supportive of regulating the New Zealand online casino market, including introducing an appropriate licensing regime for operators and imposing taxes and mandatory host responsibility requirements.”

Whilst the presence of the online operator may provide an enticing gaming option for gamblers within the country, the move to ban credit cards for online gambling from the DIA may make this a challenging pursuit to undertake going forward.

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