New Zealand planning to impose fees on offshore operators

New Zealand’s government is considering imposing fees on offshore operators in an effort to prevent such websites from offering superior services to punters in the country.

The country’s Offshore Racing & Sports Betting working group estimates NZ$58 million (€35.6 billion/US$37.9 billion) of gross betting profit is lost offshore each year, with the number of New Zealand residents betting online with such operators doubling since 2010 to 40,000.

The group cited a wider product range, better odds as well as a more aggressive approach to acquiring customers as the key reasons behind this growth, despite the country’s TAB having launched a new mobile application in an effort to gain new customers.

Minister of Racing Nathan Guy has now responded to this trend by unveiling a number of proposals from the Offshore Racing & Sports Betting at the annual meeting of the New Zealand Racing Board (NZRB), operator of the TAB.

The group has suggested ending prohibition on in-race betting, allowing bets on sports that do not have a national governing body in the country, and permitting the NZRB to introduce new products to the market.

The proposals also included a recommendation for an intellectual property fee that offshore operators would have to pay if they accepted bets on racing and sports event taking place in New Zealand.

According to the website, if set at 2%, this fee could generate NZ$16.6 million in revenue during its first year, with the group stating around NZ$1 billion is bet offshore on New Zealand racing and sports event at present without the TAB getting a cut from this activity.

“Many offshore providers make no contribution to the local racing industry, to the New Zealand economy, or to the problem gambling levy,” Guy said.

“The reality is we are trying to create a legislative tool with an extra-territorial reach, which is by no means simple.”

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