Gamblers across New Zealand are changing their attitudes towards different parts of the gambling industry as the country’s poker machine players move online. Money being put into poker machines dropped 24% in 2011 as players spent almost $8million less than a year before. Internal Affairs figures show that in the province of Northland, $32m was pumped into the machines in 2010, a figure that now stands at $24.3m. The number of machines has decreased by 15 to 745 since June 2010. Diane Matthews, a Problem Gambling Foundation counselor explained why.
“People are getting a bit bored [with gaming machines]. Internet gambling is way more accessible, but the sad thing about that is all money goes overseas,” she said.
Matthews has started driving the bandwagon over restricting online gambling – this despite the point that there are no figures in the Northern Advocate article supporting an increase in online gaming. An upturn in online gambling is no different to what has happened in most other developed countries and is simply the course the industry’s taking.
In terms of the legal stance on the online gambling industry, Internal Affairs spokesperson Trevor Henry admitted they don’t supervise it but added: “The law says it’s not illegal to gamble over the internet, but it’s illegal to advertise or promote online gambling.”
Although the usual conclusion has been jumped to over online gambling it can actually be a lot easier to track problem gamblers online. Poker machines are a lot more anonymous and as such it makes it harder to monitor players. With online gaming it’s a lot easier to keep a close eye on players that have an addiction and as such limit the amount they play.