New Zealand Lotteries has decided to follow in the footsteps of many other gaming groups around the world and expand their operations. The lottery has unveiled a plan that will expand gambling over the course of the next two years, but not everyone is happy with the plan.
The Problem gambling Foundation is concerned that the expansion is targeting the wrong audience. Young gamblers, according to the Foundation, are most at risk to develop addictions through the new options that are being proposed. Instant Kiwi is the game that is receiving the most criticism.
“This is specifically targeting young people and the risks are significantly higher of people developing a problem from that form of gambling,” said PGF Communications Manager Andree Froude. According to the Foundation, the idea may look good on paper, but it is likely a recipe for disaster when enacted.
New Zealand already has eighty-six percent of their adult population playing the lottery. Although that number is high, the lottery believes that these players should be spending more money when they play, thus the need for more convenient ways to reach customers.
In addition to the Instant Kiwi expansion, the lottery has plans to sell tickets at supermarkets and smaller shops. In other countries such as the US, lottery tickets cane be bought at convenience and grocery stores on almost every corner in the nation. There are still several states in the US that do not have any form of lottery, and Hawaii has no gambling.
Other states, however, have moved towards expansion. Casinos are popping up all over the country, and state lotteries have expanded their own games, while also authorizing the sale of tickets to intrastate lotteries such as Mega Millions and Powerball.
The issue in New Zealand is a complex one. Back in the early nineties there was a shift in culture with the alcohol laws being eased. That caused an increase in alcohol addiction and other alcohol related problems. Opponents of the lottery’s expansion fear that the same type of situation may occur with gambling.
One sticking point for the Lotto is it must receive government approval to expand. Lottery officials insist that while they are looking to expand, they will do so in a responsible manner, with safeguards in place to keep customers from falling into a pattern of addiction.