New Zealand may recover millions from offshore betting

New Zealand’s racing industry has backed plans to impose charges on offshore betting operators for taking wagers from nationals and offering betting markets based on sports event in the country.

According to Radio New Zealand, Racing board chief executive Greg Purcell said that the country’s racing industry is missing out on valuable income because of the estimated NZ$329 million (€203.2 million/US$218.4 million) wagered on the country’s racing events with Australian totaliser operators last year.

Figures released towards the end of last year also suggested that approximately NZ$58 million was bet by citizens of New Zealand offshore.

“Australian corporate bookmakers aren’t paying us any money and are free-riding on our product; all we want is a fair go and a fair fee for payment,” Purcell said.

“In New Zealand we really are quite cash-poor; we have a very small population and quite a substantial racing industry so we’re going to put it primarily into prize-money and into the promotion of our sport.”

Meanwhile, John Allen, chief executive of the New Zealand Racing Board, has also backed plans to change the country’s current rules regarding offshore betting, stating that he would expect all overseas bookmakers to comply should the new legislation be introduced.

Allen added: “The large corporate bookmakers around the world that tend to be multi-national players are very experienced at making these sorts of payments back to industry.

“So, even though it would be extra-territorial, and so that creates some challenges, our expectation is that it would be largely voluntary compliance.”

Racing Minister Nathan Guy also added: “Potentially if we could bring in legislation and it was enforceable that could mean that we could recoup around NZ$16 million.”

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