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Lotto online opportunity for more safeguards

Hon Rick Barker
Minister of Internal Affairs

28 March 2008
Media Statement
Lotto online opportunity for more safeguards and collecting better info

Internal Affairs Minister, Rick Barker announced today that changes have been gazetted enabling the online sale of Lotto, Powerball, Strike, Big Wednesday and Keno tickets. While NZ Lotteries are yet to set a date for the launch of any online products, Mr Barker outlined the many safety features that will govern online play to minimise the risk of problem gambling.

"Online sales represent a real opportunity to improve the safety features around the sale of lotto tickets," Mr Barker said.

"These safeguards generally do not apply in Lotto retail outlets and will ensure safe access to NZ Lotteries products online as there is no ongoing relationship between the purchaser of the ticket and NZ Lotteries. Online play will allow the collection of better information about spending habits which has not been possible until now. This information will provide a real insight into the way New Zealanders use these products, and there will be an obligation on NZ Lotteries to act if a problem is detected.

"There is consumer demand for online access to Lotto, Powerball, Strike, Big Wednesday and Keno. It is the Lotteries Commission's responsibility to ensure this demand can be met without undue risk to the public.

"Players will be required to register to play online, be limited to one account and will have to set their own personal weekly and monthly spending limits which cannot be exceeded. There will also be more general mandatory spending limits.

“Players will also be able to see how much they have won or lost over the year. NZ Lotteries will monitor players who consistently spend to the maximum, and will contact them to offer support and problem gambling helpline information. This is a major improvement. At the moment we know nothing about individual spending habits. With this information we will be better able to assess if there are any problems.

"When the Gambling Act was passed in 2003 it was always envisaged that there would eventually be demand for online services. For this reason the NZ Lotteries and the New Zealand Racing Board were exempted from the online gambling website prohibition, so that there is provision for New Zealanders of a relatively safe alternative to the online games offered by overseas-based gambling operators, and so that any benefits from Internet gambling will remain in New Zealand," Mr Barker said.


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