An Act that needs repealing

October 21st, 2012 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Celeste Gorrell Anstiss at HoS reports:

Internal Affairs has mounted a crackdown on big spot prizes at expos and fishing competitions, warning organisers they constitute illegal .

Officials have sent cease-and-desist letters to 15 organisations, informing them that events with an entry fee cannot have door giveaways, raffles or barrel draws with prizes worth more than $500.

Beach and Boat Fishing Competition organiser Tony Wheeler has put ticket sales to New Zealand’s biggest fishing tournament on hold, after receiving the letter this month. He is scrambling to figure out how to comply with the Department of Internal Affairs’ strict conditions.

Only certain licensed organisations, like the Lotteries Commission, charitable trusts and SkyCity casino, are allowed to run games of chance.

DIA are just doing their job, but it is a silly law. Our gambling laws like monopolies. Just one casino per city, if that. TAB have a monopoly on sports betting. The Lotteries Commission on large games of chance etc.

There should be some rules around transparency such as clearly stating the chance of winning and the percentage of receipts that will be paid back as prizes.

The crackdown comes after a complaint from a pokies trust, which argued that its business was being undermined by events like A&P shows and trade shows that give away spot prizes such as cars, boats and holidays.

Wheeler’s annual competition is the biggest fishing tournament in the country with 2100 competitors and more than $220,000 worth of spot prizes, including a boat and a car. The heavily-promoted $100,000 prize for catching a special snapper – tagged by the officials and thrown back in – is alleged to breach the Gambling Act.

Catching a tagged fish requires some knowledge or skill, but Internal Affairs believes winning relies on a large element of chance. Fishing competitions are still allowed to award prizes for catching the most fish, or the biggest fish, because this is regarded as skill.

We should just change the law so DIA doesn’t have to waste time deciding whether catching a particular fish is skill or chance. For my 2c it involves skill. Sure you need luck for that particular fish to come along, but you need skill to keep it on the line.

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12 Responses to “An Act that needs repealing”

  1. thor42 (971 comments) says:

    Agreed. This is exactly the kind of USELESS, nanny-state law that should have been booted out the door along with Comrade Clark’s backside.
    **Ridiculous** that people spend time and money policing this kind of thing.

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  2. Redbaiter (10,428 comments) says:

    The Dept of Internal Affairs is clearly a prime target for budget cuts and staff layoffs.

    The relevant Minister has to look into it immediately.

    There is no way in these adverse times that struggling taxpayers should be paying for this kind of bullshit.

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  3. MT_Tinman (3,318 comments) says:

    Surely the only responce required is the logical one; Gambling requires one to invest by purchasing a draw ticket.

    Paying for entry to an event, with or without “spot” prizes, does not as long as any prizes are not financed by the entry proceeds.

    The offering of “spot” prizes supplied by sponsors therefore can not and should not be considered gambling.

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  4. Colville (2,318 comments) says:

    Isnt this more about making sure that the boat “spot prize” isnt “won” by the brother in law of the organiser?

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  5. Nick K (1,259 comments) says:

    The swim/run series I assist with has wetsuit spot prizes each week. I guess we are in breach. It is here I agree with the Greens and argue civil disobedience is a must for these laws.

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  6. Graeme Edgeler (2,972 comments) says:

    The swim/run series I assist with has wetsuit spot prizes each week.

    Are the prizes over $500 in total value?
    Or $5000 if its for a charity?

    If so, you’re not covered.

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  7. Viking2 (11,678 comments) says:

    more fucking nanny state. Surely any public servant who partook in this reaction should resign in disgust and uselessness.

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  8. peterwn (3,335 comments) says:

    DIA only reacted when one of the pokie ‘charities’ did a whine. If DIA did not look into it they probanly would have stirred up Labour pollies thus giving John Key another headache.

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  9. JeffW (327 comments) says:

    Clearly this is a Ministry which could do with less tax being provided to it, so it had to use its judgement and be reasonable.

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  10. Alan Johnstone (1,087 comments) says:

    There used to be a great pub poker scene in Auckland a few years back. Skirted the edges of the $500 limit, but was just about legal.

    I got told at the time it got shut down by DIA after a complaint by sky city, the cost if layering up made it not worth the fight.

    When did the $500 law come in? Any back like this should have the limit index linked so it retains its real value

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  11. Nick K (1,259 comments) says:

    @ Graeme, yes. A new Orca wetsuit is at least that. One is given away each week over a 10 week series.

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  12. ephbeemac (1 comment) says:

    The same applies to alcohol promotion, it must be a game of skill, “fill in the blanks N_w Z__land” rather than a game of chance. Its a fine line but the distinction is needed

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