Credit Cards Banned From New Zealand Casinos

Elouise Spencer - 28 October 2019

It is no secret that the gambling landscape in New Zealand is undergoing major transformation. One big recent change saw limit restrictions placed on credit card related spending at casinos. But rumours had long been circulating about even stronger restrictions. Those rumours have now come to pass, with an official announcement by the New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) being made.

The announcement declared that credit cards would be banned across the board for the purposes of gambling. The ban itself did not come as a surprise to most, but the timing was questioned. The ban was clearly a response to incoming moves underway by foreign organisation. Plus, many questioned what the overall effectiveness of the ban would, and if the restriction itself had been well thought out.

Big Preparation Steps

Malta-based operator SKYCITY Entertainment Group officially declared their intention to launch an online casino in the country. The operation marks the first private entity to enter the online industry; an industry which is currently dominated by the state owned lottery system, and the locally run TABS national sports betting network.

Speculation is that the introduction of the foreign entity has put the local government, and the DIA, in overdrive as they prepare for the results. Some have suggested that the steps being taken are far too hasty, and will ultimately harm the sustainability of the industry. But government officials have been quick to insist that they are only making necessary preparations.

It should be taken into account that the country has long struggled with residents being scammed by illegal offshore operations. It was for this reason that many spoke out against SKYCITY Entertainment Group being granted an operating license at all, given that it will complicate the online landscape.

Following The Leader

But this is not been the only controversy that has arisen from the credit card ban. Earlier in the year, after SKYCITY Entertainment Group was granted their license, multiple local companies quickly made moves to open their own locally run online gambling sites. The DIA responded by holding public consultations, allowing the locals to have their say.

During these consultations nearby Australia saw the bank of Macquarie ban the use of credit cards for gambling. The New Zealand government jumped to follow the example. This was despite many suggesting that little to no research had been done on the effectiveness of such a measure. Multiple accusations were made that the DIA ban was simply implemented in order to mimic the actions taken by Australia, as a means to appear proactive in the face of growing pressure.

Either way, the ban is now official, and the launch date of the new online venues is quickly approaching.