A working group will explore the growth of offshore online racing and sports betting among New Zealand punters.
The Government hopes the working group will shed light on the growth of offshore betting, Racing Minister Nathan Guy said.
The TAB betting agency is operated by the New Zealand Racing Board and has a national monopoly on all racing and sports betting in the country.
“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,” Guy said.
“National sporting organisations also receive a percentage of sports betting turnover.
“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,” Guy said.
The working group was described by the minister as the first real attempt to clarify the extent of the problem and work towards solutions.
Racing contributes about $NZ1.6 billion each year to New Zealand’s gross domestic product, and was responsible for 17,000 full-time jobs across the country, many of them in the regions.
“Given the global trend towards online betting, this issue will continue to grow and needs to be addressed now,” Guy said.
“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.”
The working group will start this month and will report back later this year.
The group will be chaired by former government Internal Affairs minister Chris Tremain. Other members are New Zealand Racing Board chief executive John Allen; the chairman of Sport New Zealand, Sir Paul Collins; breeder, racehorse owner and the Racing Board’s thoroughbred representative, Greg McCarthy; and two Internal Affairs officials.