Residents of New Zealand can expect some changes to their nation’s gambling promotions. In April, the Advertising Standards Authority reviewed the Code for Advertising Gaming and Gambling. They found it lacking, so they created a more comprehensive version.

For new ads, the Gambling Advertising Code goes into effect on 5 August, 2019. For all ads, the code becomes active on 4 November 2019.

The Purpose of the New Advertising Code

The new Gambling Advertising Code focuses on social responsibility. Ads must be honest and decent, especially when it comes to protecting children and vulnerable persons.

This code applies to all gambling ads, regardless of the type of media. The Code defines an advertisement as any message attempting to influence the choice or behaviour of its audience.

Rule 1A – Children and Young People

According to the Code, “children” means all people younger than 14. “Young people,” meanwhile, applies those between the ages of 14 and 18.

The first rule of the new code states that gambling ads must not target children or young people. Advertisers must be careful about content that would appeal to kids. They must also consider if the main audience would consist primarily of youngsters.

Despite these rules, kids can appear in gambling ads. They must be appropriate to the setting, however, such as a print ad depicting a family.

Overhead view of gaming floor at SkyCity Casino in Auckland, New Zealand.

Rule 1B – Gambling Harm

This rule states that ads cannot cause, encourage, or condone harm from gambling. In fact, it also states the following:

  • Ads cannot promote gambling as a way to improve a person’s financial situation.
  • Advertisements cannot promote unrealistic expectations in regards to cash winnings.
  • Ads must not create a false sense of urgency.
  • Gaming ads cannot state a link between gambling and success with the opposite sex.
  • Ads cannot urge players to gamble beyond their means.
  • Advertisements cannot downplay the level of financial risk associated with gambling.
  • Promotions cannot use cultural references or symbols to prey on the superstitious.
  • Ads cannot use or encourage peer pressure.

Rule 2A – Ads Must Be Truthful

Gambling ads are prohibited from confusing or misleading the public. Obvious hyperbole, however, is considered acceptable.

Ads must always include the terms and conditions or point the way to such explanations. The content of the ad must not contradict the terms and conditions.

The gambling location must also be indicated. This could be the physical address of a brick-and-mortar casino, or it could be a URL.

The size of the prize or chance of winning cannot be exaggerated. Any details regarding the chance of winning must be able to be verified. Finally, an ad cannot falsely claim that skill can affect the outcome of a game of chance.

Not Just a New Zealand Problem

New Zealand isn’t the only country to experience problems related to underage punting. In 2018, a Melbourne university found that 75% of Aussie kids associated sports with gambling.

A Victoria study also found that 80% of kids between 13 and 17 have previously gambled. Much of this has been attributed to mobile gaming apps, such as those found on Android devices.  Even worse, some children as young as 12 have been able to overcome built-in safeguards and place wagers.

This has resulted in increased efforts to regulate gambling advertising in Australia. Now, it appears that New Zealand is finally catching up.

How Does This Affect Australian Gamblers?

Australian residents won’t feel the effects of the upcoming NZ Gambling Advertising Code. However, it is indicative of a larger issue that stretches across borders.

Gaming rules and regulations have tightened in Australia during the last few years. Even major companies are feeling the pressure. For a recent example, read about Woolworths exit from the world of gambling. In addition, the Macquarie Group announced that it will no longer accept credit card transactions tied to gaming.

Aussie punters are a devoted group, and we’ve always seemed to exist in a bubble. With heightened scrutiny and regulations, it appears that the bubble is finally ready to pop.