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New Zealand Looking to Ban Online Credit Card Gambling

The gambling regulatory body in New Zealand is considering a ban on gambling online with credit cards. The aim of the ban would be to try to reduce losses and debt for individuals and to improve the fight against gambling addiction.

The move comes ahead of major online casino Skycity going live following the approval of a license from the New Zealand government. Online gambling in the country has traditionally been restricted to the state-run lottery and TAB (Totalisator Agency Board) but now the government is looking to open up the market to private companies.

In addition to the credit card ban, the New Zealand government has been investigating ways to ban illegal and offshore gambling operations. The aim is to ensure that any online gambling activity in the country is done through government-approved websites. Interestingly, Skycity is based in Malta, a fact that has brought up some controversy amongst critics and industry insiders who believe that these new licenses should go to local companies.

“Feast or famine”

Gambling in New Zealand has been in the news lately due to a game that originated in Otago University called “Feast or famine”. Students of the University gamble their entire weekly food budget on a 50/50 chance of doubling the money or losing it all. The game has raised questions about gambling addiction in the country but students who were interviewed did not believe they had a problem. The Problem Gambling Foundation Services (PGFS) offers treatment in the country for gambling addiction and issues related to it.

While the credit card ban may not necessarily help to fight gambling addiction, it should reduce problems that arise as a result of debt. Many gamblers develop an addiction when they get into a cycle of attempting to pay off the previous debt by gambling more. There is already a law in place to ensure video poker machines, known as pokies, display how much money has been spent and the duration of time spent playing.

‘Normalizing’ sports betting

Last month gambling experts warned of a rising problem with New Zealand sports betting. They believe that the TAB system run by the New Zealand Racing Board is normalizing gambling to worrying levels. Players in New Zealand are subjected to gambling advertising that is creating an environment where betting becomes more important than the game itself.

Online sports betting, in particular, has been noted as being problematic due to the hidden nature of it and the ability of addicts to hide their activity. The ability to bet with a credit card online poses further questions due to the simplicity of using it without needing to present it physically or sign for it. This reduces the chances of players questioning their decisions and considering the amount they are spending.

If the credit card ban passes legislation it should provide some insights into online gambling habits and how they are linked to the psychology of ‘hiding’ from debt.

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