Offshore online racing and sports betting under spotlight

  • Nathan Guy

A working group has been appointed to shed some light on the growth of New Zealanders engaging in offshore online racing and sports betting, Racing Minister Nathan Guy announced today.

“The TAB is operated by the New Zealand Racing Board and has a national monopoly on all racing and sports betting. The Racing Board is required by law to distribute all profits from this betting back to the racing industry, which relies on these distributions to survive. National Sporting Organisations also receive a percentage of sports betting turnover,” says Mr Guy.

“When New Zealanders place their sports and racing bets with overseas betting operators online, they operate outside of our regulatory framework. This means that offshore organisations make money on New Zealand racing and sports without paying their fair share of tax, or making contributions back to the racing industry or sporting organisations that make the betting possible in the first place.

“These New Zealanders are also operating outside the safety net of gambling harm mitigation that we have here,” says Mr Guy.

Mr Guy says that this is the first real attempt to clarify the extent of the problem and work towards developing solutions.

“The racing industry contributes about $1.6 billion to New Zealand’s GDP, is a major source of employment supporting over 17,000 full time jobs across the country, and has a particularly strong presence in our regions,” says Mr Guy.

“Given the global trend towards online betting, this issue will continue to grow and needs to be addressed now.

“The issues at hand are complex but we are not the only country dealing with this problem. There is now a growing body of international work on this matter the working group can reference,” says Mr Guy.

The working group will commence this month and is due to report back with recommendations for the Minister later this year.

The group will chaired by former Minister, Chris Tremain. Other members are: New Zealand Racing Board Chief Executive, John Allen; the Chair of Sport New Zealand, Sir Paul Collins; breeder, racehorse owner and the NZRB’s Thoroughbred representative, Greg McCarthy; and two Internal Affairs officials.

“Overall, the group has a good depth of experience. Chris Tremain’s familiarity with gambling regulation as a former Minister of Internal Affairs and his experience throughout sporting circles will serve him well as Chair of the working group,” says Mr Guy.

Terms of Reference for the working group can be viewed here.