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 gambling.
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.