Mia Gardner | 25 May 2018
Over the past week, Kiwi online magazine The Spinoff has published multiple alarmist articles about the Malta-licensed iGaming brand JackpotCity advertising its free-play .net site on New Zealand TV. The ads in question have been compared to Trojan horses, intended to mislead players into visiting the real money .com casino domain.
The publication has claimed that JackpotCity’s real intent is clear in the fact that, should players forget to use the .net web address for the casino and do a web search instead, they will instead likely find the .com version of the casino.
The magazine was however forced to add that there is technically no law preventing JackpotCity and other casinos from advertising their free-play sites on TV. In October 2017, a confused local player complained to the NZ Advertising Standards Authority about a JackpotCity advert, claiming correctly that it was illegal for the brand to promote iGaming on television. However, the authority reportedly found no grounds to go ahead with the complaint.
The Spinoff did also speak about some suspicious happenings between one of its undercover writers and JackpotCity, with whom the writer opened a real money account. Apparently, a casino customer service representative contacted the writer with an offer of ‘hot tips’ should the registered player be willing to make another cash deposit.
Last week, the magazine also highlighted the worlds of Minister for Internal Affairs Tracey Martin, who stated that the government needed to update its legislation in order to manage these new developments that had not been expected when the current gambling bill was implemented back in 2003.
According to Martin, neither JackpotCity nor TV channel operator MediaWorks were technically in breach of any laws. However, she did claim that her department had contacted the broadcaster suggesting that it had ‘breached the intent’ of local legislation. The company has yet to respond, and until new legislation is in place, she is encouraging Kiwis to write numerous letters to MediaWorks’ CEO to express their displeasure.
The Minister has also suggested that the public contact credit card companies to sway them into no longer accepting or processing online gambling-related payments other than on the state-run TAB betting site.
However, even TAB has come under fire after many punters received emails and texts promoting betting incentives and promotions ahead of sports events, which Martin considers to be potentially inappropriate. She now plans to take the matter up with the cabinet directly.