Racing Minister Nathan Guy appoints a working group chaired by former National MP Chris Tremain
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.
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