The number of counterfeit gambling sites aimed at targeting players from New Zealand is on the rise. The authorities in the country have already been struggling to check these fake sites which appear to be New Zealand-based and target the local customers.
In a recent report, the gambling authority in the country has said that they have identified at least 13 international gaming and gambling websites that are using New Zealand website addresses and have designed their interface in a way that they appear to be a home company.
While these online casino sites invite bettors from the country, they are not registered in New Zealand. As such the players are not protected. Also, New Zealand has some of the strictest gambling compliance regulations, and these fake sites are not subject to such rules making the bettors vulnerable to scams and fraudulent activities.
The most common trick that these fake sites use is to get a .nz tld to make them appear they are a New Zealand-based company. Average bettors fail to identify the legality of the websites, and as these are not based in the country, the customers also have no legal protection.
The Department for Internal Affairs (DIA) is concerned that the number of such websites is on the rise; however, they have also approached the hosting service providers who host such sites on their servers to pull them down.
In a statement to the press, the DIA’s director of regulatory systems (gambling), Chris Thornborough, has said that “One of the sites we contacted was brazen enough to use the government’s official Coat of Arms. We can only presume this was done to suggest some formal connection with the New Zealand government or our local gambling laws.”
Betting on overseas sites is not illegal in New Zealand, but these sites are not just any other gambling website with proper registration and compliance measures.
“These operators can exist in unregulated or under-regulated places and can be run by criminal organizations looking to cheat you out of your money or use the contact to attempt to hack identities,” Thornborough said.