IBIA suggests New Zealand adopts ‘open’ licensing system

The International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA) has suggested that the New Zealand government implements a ‘suitable regulatory and fiscal structure for sports betting’ which will ensure that licensed operators are able to deliver a wide range of betting products. 

Confirmed in its response to the public consultation on online gambling across New Zealand, the IBIA divided its response into two sections: Licensing, regulation and taxation; and betting product availability and integrity.

Citing other betting markets such as the UK, Denmark, Sweden and Spain, the IBIA outlined four options to the New Zealand government in terms of gambling regulation.

The report explained: “IBIA notes the four options provided by the government. The first three are essentially variations on the existing monopoly model, with the fourth proposing to license domestic and overseas operators. The latter is said to incorporate “any online gambling product”, albeit the document also suggests that this could be limited to maintain the existing product monopolies.

“The association and members strongly support the fourth option as the only viable means of channeling consumers away from offshore services, albeit only on the basis that this incorporates all core gambling products; maintaining the existing product monopolies will serve no useful purpose in addressing consumer migration offshore, notably around betting.”

It added that there should be a liberal approach to taxation of gambling operators, pointing out that the implementation of a ‘burdensome fiscal framework’ could deter potential market entrants from applying for a New Zealand gambling licence.

“It is also important that, as with the countries employing a licensing system listed above, any licence fees are proportionate and wholly based on the necessary administrative costs of proper market regulation” the IBIA explained. “Licensing fees should not be used as a revenue raising tool, and in effect an additional means of taxation, which would deter operators from seeking a licence.”

It continued: “With that in mind, the association strongly supports and encourages New Zealand to adopt a licensing system which is open and allows any company to apply for an online betting licence. Aligned with that is the adoption of a taxation model that reflects the international availability and dimension of sports betting products and is not over-burdensome from that perspective.”

The IBIA added that there should be a wide range of betting products available to punters, both in terms of types of bet and events on which bets may be placed.

“In addition to the development of a suitable regulatory and fiscal structure for sports betting, it is also fundamental to the viability of the market that licensed operators are able to offer a wide range of sports betting products,” the IBIA said. “Imposing restrictions invariably leads to consumers seeking those banned products through other markets, including unregulated offshore channels.

“The British Gambling Commission, which covers one of the largest and most mature betting markets in the world, regulates and permits all forms of betting on all types of sporting events without any restrictions. It does so whilst maintaining a close oversight of the market and is continually working with its licensed operators, adopting an evidence-based policy approach.”

The public consultation, which ended on 30 September, was developed to gauge an insight into public attitudes towards the regulation of new forms of online gambling. As it stands, gambling services can only be offered via Lotto NZ and the Totalisator Agency Board (TAB), however this may soon include additional operators pending the results of the public consultation. 

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