All bets are off

Back on the 24th of August I offered true believers of Helen the chance to make some money from the evil right, by betting that the pledge cards would be found legal by the High Court.

A flurry of bets were placed, strangely very few betting that the cards would be found legal despite 9:1 odds.

Alas all bets are off. The state has detected this little bet as a threat to public order, and the Department of Internal Affairs has advised me the sweepstake is illegal. Their letter is after the break.

Incidentally I had checked out the legality, and believed it was a Class 1 type of gambling, as it was under $500.

So why is it illegal? Because I did it over the Internet!! You see the Lotteries Commission and the TAB have a legislative monopoly over Internet gambling. The details are over the break in the e-mail from DIA. So the bets would have been legal if I had done it within an office or just amongst friends. But by doing it over the Internet it is illegal. I knew there was a reason state monopolies are a bad thing!

So once again, all bets are off as unlike Labour I can’t choose which laws apply to me on any given day. However I am sure we will still await the outcome of the court case with interest!

Hello Mr Farrar

I am writing to you regarding your weblog and a particular entry “Place your bets” posted by yourself on 24 August 2006. You are inviting people to place bets on the outcome of a court case and the entry shows that there have been bets placed.

(See attached file: Web blog Place your bets.doc)

You may not be aware that this is in breach of the Gambling Act 2006, Section 9 (2) (b).

The Gambling Act 2003 (the Act) was passed by Parliament in September 2003 and came into force in gradual steps, the final of which was on 1 July
2004. The Act repealed the Gaming and Lotteries Act 1977 and the Casino
Control Act 1990 and for the first time addressed the issue of gambling through the Internet and other forms of Remote Interactive Gambling (RIG).
The Gambling Compliance Group (GCG) of the Department of Internal Affairs (the Department) administers the Act.

The purpose of this letter is to outline the issues of conducting Remote
Interactive Gambling in New Zealand. As people may not be aware that what
they are doing is in breach of the Act, my intention is to educate in the first instance and request that the gambling cease. Please find below the following documents and extracts from the Act for your information:

Extract of Section 5 – Meaning of Conducting Gambling
Extract of section 9 – Gambling Prohibited
Extract of section 19 – Offences
Fact sheet 27 – RIG and Overseas Gambling Advertisements

Remote Interactive Gambling

Section 9 of the Act outlines prohibited forms of gambling including RIG.
The only organisations allowed to conduct RIG are the New Zealand Racing Board (“TAB”) and the Lotteries Commission.

Section 19 sets out other offences including:

Conducts illegal gambling
Promoting illegal gambling or assists in doing so
Advertising illegal gambling

These offences carry a maximum penalty of a fine not exceeding $50,000 for a corporate body.

It is hoped that this information will help operators of websites and others using the medium of the internet so they can make informed decisions about their responsibilities under the Gambling Act.

Where the website is operated from a server based outside of New Zealand we will endeavour to contact the owner or operator to explain the situation.
If advertisements or links remain and there is a New Zealand address then we will take steps to have the New Zealand address blocked.

I would suggest that you stop taking bets and you may want to amend the weblog entry to let people visiting your log that gambling is no longer
taking place. I note in the entry you ask bettors to email you to confirm
their bet, this will allow you to contact those persons and refund any money that may have been handed over and explain the reasons why.

If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact the writer.

Yours sincerely

(Name deleted by DPF)
Senior Gambling Inspector

5 Meaning of conducting gambling

In this Act, conducting gambling includes any of the following activities:

(a) organising, using, managing, supervising, and operating (but not
playing) gambling or gambling equipment:
(b) distributing the turnover of gambling (for example, by paying
prizes, meeting costs, or making grants):
(c) selling tickets to participate in gambling:
(d) promoting gambling:
(e) assisting in activities described in paragraphs (a) to (d).

9 Gambling prohibited

(1) Gambling is prohibited and illegal unless it is—
(a) authorised by or under this Act and complies with this Act and
any relevant licence, game rules, and minimum standards; or
(b) authorised by or under the Racing Act 2003 and complies with that
Act and any regulations made under it; or
(c) private gambling.

(2) The following types of gambling are prohibited and illegal and are not authorised by and may not be authorised under this Act:
(a) bookmaking:
(b) remote interactive gambling.

19 Offences

(1) A person who does any of the following things commits an offence:
(a) participates in illegal gambling:
(b) is, without reasonable excuse, at a place where illegal gambling is occurring:
(c) conducts illegal gambling:
(d) offers or provides credit if the person knows or ought to know
that the credit may be used to commit an offence under paragraph (a)
or paragraph (c):
(e) accepts credit from a person with the intention that it be used
to commit an offence under paragraph (a) or paragraph (c):
(f) makes a direct or indirect pecuniary gain from illegal gambling
other than as a direct participant:
(g) promotes illegal gambling or assists in doing so:
(h) causes or permits a place to be used for illegal gambling:
(i) advertises illegal gambling—
(i) to inform the public of places where illegal gambling takes
place or will take place; or
(ii) to invite the public to participate in illegal gambling or
to seek information about opportunities to do so; or
(iii) to invite the public to commit money for illegal gambling
or to seek information about opportunities to commit money for
illegal gambling:

(j) provides or installs gambling equipment if the person knows or
ought to know that it is intended to be used for illegal gambling.

(2) Every person who commits an offence against subsection (1)(a) or (b) is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding $1,000.

(3) Every person who commits an offence against subsection (1)(c) to (j) is liable on summary conviction,—
(a) in the case of an individual, to imprisonment for a term not
exceeding 1 year or to a fine not exceeding $20,000:
(b) in the case of a body corporate, to a fine not exceeding $50,000.

remote interactive gambling—

(a) includes gambling by a person at a distance by interaction through a communication device; but
(b) does not include—
(i) gambling promoted by the Lotteries Commission; or
(ii) gambling authorised under the Racing Act 2003; or
(iii) gambling by a person in New Zealand conducted by a gambling
operator located outside New Zealand; or
(iv) a sales promotion scheme that is in the form of a lottery and is
conducted in New Zealand

publish means—

(a) insert or publish in a newspaper or other periodical published or distributed in New Zealand; or
(b) send to a person by any means; or
(c) deliver to a person or leave at a place owned or occupied by a person; or
(d) broadcast; or
(e) include in a film or video; or
(f) include on a disk for use with a computer; or
(g) convey by electronic medium; or
(h) distribute by any means; or
(i) display by way of a sign, notice, poster, or other means; or
(j) store electronically in a way that it is accessible to the public; or
(k) bring to the notice of the public in New Zealand in any other manner

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