Christchurch Casino plotting Malta-based online gaming move
Christchurch Casino, a land-based gaming venue in New Zealand, is planning to launch an online gambling platform in Malta under the domain name ‘christchurchcasino.com’ by the end of 2022.
The move has sparked disquiet between the owners and the gambling safety activists in New Zealand. While Christchurch Casino is licensed for brick-and-mortar gaming operations in the country, it is not permitted to run online gambling activities. According to NZ’s gambling laws, only two providers are authorized to operate online, namely TAB and Lotto NZ. For online casino games, New Zealand punters must resort to offshore websites.
Christchurch Casino’s chairperson, Bruce Robertson, assures everyone that the new site will be well-stocked with responsible gambling tools and abide by the set rules and regulations. In their announcement, Christchurch Casino will work with another gaming provider to boost its online presence.
The decision to go online was arrived at after reports revealed a fast rise in online gambling and a progressive decline in land-based casino activities. Despite that, the move to launch Christchurch Casino online has not contented everyone.
Bridgitte Thornly, director of the Problem Gambling Foundation, is not happy with the action, saying that it is disappointing and concerning that the casino will use an offshore presence to go online. She said choosing Christchurch Casino in the domain name would mislead players into believing that the online casino was an honest New Zealand-based site, whereas NZ laws do not govern it. She also added that people visiting the web for more information (such as opening and closing hours) about the casino would be hoodwinked into visiting the online gaming platform.
The move to go online has drawn much criticism from gambling safety advocates in NZ. A professor at Auckland University is quoted to have said that online casino gambling is more harmful than land-based casino gambling.
Since 2019, the department of Internal Affairs (DIA) has been reviewing the safety and regulations of the online gambling system in New Zealand. It is expected to give feedback by the end of 2022.