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Man And Company Charged With Conducting Illegal Gambling After Generating Over $11 Million In Illegal Online Lotteries

A Christchurch man and his company have been charged with multiple illegal gambling offences, following an investigation by Te Tari Taiwhenua, Department of Internal Affairs (DIA).

The defendants, who appeared in Christchurch District Court this afternoon, have been charged with conducting illegal gambling, promoting illegal gambling, and making a pecuniary gain from illegal gambling under the Gambling Act 2003 (the Act).

It is alleged the defendants personally benefitted from selling illegal lotteries via online platforms with prizes like high value cars, boats, caravans, cash and a freehold house on offer. In a little over a year, the illegal lottery allegedly generated $11,125,466.65, making it the largest illegal lottery ever identified in New Zealand.

Under the Act, gambling with prizes that exceed $5,000 can only be conducted by a not-for-profit society for authorised purposes and requires a class 3 gambling licence to ensure the integrity of the operation and protection of participants.

Following a referral from DIA, the New Zealand Police have also taken proceedings in the High Court against the defendants under the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act 2009.

“Our strict licensing requirements are there for a reason. We will not hesitate to respond firmly when we see instances of illegal gambling such as unlicensed online lotteries.” Said Vicki Scott, Director Gambling, Department of Internal Affairs.

“We have no tolerance for those who seek to profit by bypassing the rules.”

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