Dice set to roll for online gambling

Workplaces might want to check their acceptable use policies

New Zealanders could be legally playing interactive gambling games from home — or even from work — within a year, with the blessing of New Zealand Lotteries.

A contract concluded last week with US-based provider Gtech will see a refresh of New Zealand’s entire population of Lotto terminals, currently numbering 1,450 and growing. This will be followed by the introduction of new products, including "remote interactive gaming", or RIG.

Where RIG has been offered overseas, it has often been provided over the internet as well as through dedicated networks, Lotteries spokeswoman Helen Morgan-Banda says. Whether it is offered over the internet here will be the subject of further negotiation, “but we have the legal right to offer interactive gaming, under the Gambling Act", she says.

The new Gtech network will use IP as its protocol, replacing existing equipment that operated over the Telecom DDS network. The new terminals will support a web interface.

The refresh of the network should be finished by the middle of next year, and at that point the new products will start to be introduced, Morgan-Banda says.

The total value of the systems renewal contract, including the new gaming and IP systems and ongoing support, is estimated to be about $40 million over its nine-year term.

Gtech also provided Lotteries with the existing equipment.

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