The New Zealand government has expressed concerns about the activities of offshore online sports betting operators and has tasked a new working group with a review of the situation, perhaps as a prelude to a crackdown.

The New Zealand Herald reports that Racing Minister Nathan Guy, concerned that online sports betting may be depriving the local racing industry of critical income by competing with the TAB monopoly, thus denying the government potential tax revenues, has named former National MP Chris Tremain as the chairman of the working group.

Tremain was Minister of Internal Affairs until he left Parliament last year.

The membership of the working group appears to be weighted toward racing, with no sports betting nominees. Other members include Racing Board chief executive John Allen, Sport New Zealand chair Sir Paul Collins, Thoroughbred New Zealand representative Greg McCarthy and two Internal Affairs officials.

Minister Guy said this week that the TAB monopoly on racing and sports betting required the Racing Board to distribute profits back into the racing industry.

This was being undercut by increased use of online betting with overseas agencies, especially in Australia.

"This means 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," he said.

The minister noted that online sports betting was a growing trend internationally, and that other countries had introduced regulatory regimes.

The racing industry has raised concerns at the impact of online sports betting, claiming that it undermines both investment and employment prospects in the industry.

The review will determine to what extent New Zealand punters use online sports betting, and will examine claims that offshore operators are not subject to the same stringent responsible gambling rules as those complied with by the TAB, leading to an increased risk of under-age or problem gambling.

The working group is required to submit its recommendations to government by September this year.


Microgaming has confirmed the April 9 Mega Moolah progressive jackpot hit reported late last week by InfoPowa, advising that Royal Apuestas Breeders Cup Vegas player MarkA will receive a full payment in one tranche of Euro 5,375,695.08.

The lucky player was spinning on his mobile phone when he hit the jackpot that has turned him into an instant multi-millionaire.

A spokesman for Royal Vegas has revealed that MarkA had only been a member of the online casino for a week hwn he struck gold.

"I dont think you could ask for a better start to playing at Royal Vegas," the spokesman said Monday. "One of our senior VIP executive hosts had the pleasure of phoning Mark to confirm the win and to congratulate him; to say he was elated is an understatement. Everyone here at Royal Vegas would like to congratulate Mark on this mammoth and historic win.


Britain's Responsible Gambling Trust has confirmed in its latest survey that there is wide consensus among online and land gamblin online bingo g operators on the priorities for self- exclusion as a harm minimisation tool.

The study identified specific elements in self-exclusion which are already familiar to most online operators, namely:

* Self-exclusion applications should be irrevocable during the period set (usually a minimum of six months);

* Information-sharing among operators and suppliers could be improved;

* Relevant training for front-line managers and staff is essential;

* Precautions must be taken to avoid marketing to individuals who have self-excluded.

RGT chief executive Marc Etches notes that technology will help to enforce self-exclusion in the future.

This project shows that the gambling industry has the appetite to look at itself and ask what more it can do to improve the way it looks after problem gamblers," he said.

"The industry now needs to develop the technology needed to enforce self-exclusion, look into what legal restrictions there may be, and better understand the most effective methods of self-exclusion.

"We have identified these areas as research priorities and it is for the gambling industry to show their continued commitment by implementing the highest standards in their respective codes of conduct.