BoDog.com Seized by American Government

BoDog was one of the world’s most recognizable online sportsbetting brands. Owned by Calvin Ayre, the online betting site offered New Zealand punters the chance to wager on a wide range of sporting events, including football, rugby, tennis and basketball. Now, much to the dismay of punters from across the country, BoDog.com’s domain has been seized by the American government.

Ayre was brought up on charges of money laundering and running an illegal gambling operation. He has been indicted for the charges, but there is no word yet on how the authorities will proceed.

This is just one of the many unfortunate cases, Full Tilt Poker underwent the same treatment last year. The American government is working hard to shut down online gambling websites which operate in the country – but in the process, they are putting other nations at a disadvantage.

Now, players in New Zealand and all around the world will have to find an alternative to BoDog.com. It will prove to be quite difficult, as BoDog seemed to be at the top of its game in the online sportsbetting market.

Prime Minister Prefers Casinos Over Pubs

Prime Minister John Key has stated that casinos are a safer alternative to pubs which host poker machines. This seems to be his case for justifying the recent agreement he’s made with Sky City, offering the casino group more pokies in return for the construction of Auckland’s new convention and conference centre.

The deal will give Sky City the construction contract for the new convention centre, which is estimated at costing around $350 million. In return for this favour, the Prime Minister has allowed Sky City to install new poker machines in its local casinos. Key has yet to announce how many new poker machines will be permitted, but residents are already upset over the plan.

Across New Zealand, several groups have worked hard to impose a sinking lid policy on poker machines, decreasing the number of pokies across the country. Key’s new deal offsets and contradicts the policy, upsetting several politicians and responsible gambling groups.

However, John Key defends his actions by stating that it is more beneficial to install new pokies in casinos rather than pubs or gaming clubs, offering a safer environment for players. He states that the overall number of pokies will decrease while casinos in particular are able to install new machines – but very few residents are convinced.

Five Auckland Players Take Home Lotto Prize

It is a fine day in Auckland today, as five lucky winners from the city have struck the huge jackpot offered by the NZ Lotto. What you would normally think is that all five players bought into a lottery pool; however, that’s not the case – each player has won a separate prize!

Two players in the City of Sails won $500 000 from the Lotto First Division while two Strike Four winners won $750 000. The final winner was a student from Auckland who took home to $1 million grand prize from the Winning Wheel.

Daniel is the first million-dollar winner for 2012, and still can’t believe he’s won the prize. He is a student from China, who has been studying English in Auckland for the past three years. He is into video games and soccer, and wants to study to become an electricians. He plans on using some of his winnings for his schooling.

There are even bigger prizes up for grabs next week, as the Lotto Powerball Jackpot will be up to $14 million. We anticipate there will be some very lucky wins for this draw, as players from across the vie for the chance to claim this impressive cash prize.

Study Shows Pacific Children Gamble

Underage gambling is becoming a huge problem across New Zealand, with more and more children getting involved in the activity. A recent report highlights this problem, showing that a large number of New Zealand children with Pacific background begin gambling from a very young age.

According to the report, which was carried out by AUT University, 60% of young children begin playing gambling games at home with their families. Of that percentage, nearly 30% gamble for money, starting many children off on a dangerous path.

Previous studies have shown that the development of unhealthy gambling habits starts at home. Just like any other learned behaviour, children are most likely to mimic their parents’ actions. If their parents are gamblers, it is likely that they will go down a similar path – especially if they are encouraged to take part while they are young.

This study highlights the importance of leaving children unexposed to gambling behaviour until they are the legal age to gamble. This includes keeping them away from gambling card games and buying them lottery tickets as gifts. Preventing problem gambling begins at home, and many parents should take this seriously.

Gambling Helplines Combine Forces

The issue of problem gambling has become quite prevalent in the online gambling community. Gambling reform has been presented as a suitable solution, but education and counselling are also needed to make the initiative successful. As such, two helplines in New Zealand have joined forces to take on this cause.

Kidsline and Gambling Helpline have decided to start working together in order to tackle the problem together. Being the most popular helplines in New Zealand, it seems appropriate that they would partner up, covering most of the area affected by rising problem gambling rates.

A product of this partnership is the establishment of the Gambling Helpline Youth Program. As part of this initiative, Kidsline and Gambling Helpline will work together to provide targeted guidance for children and teens who are concerned about their parents’ gambling behaviour.

Problem gambling education starts at home, and children should be made well-aware of the consequences of becoming addicted to gambling. By helping youth deal with their families’ problems, the two helplines will help stop problem gambling at the root of the problem.

Queensland Casino Introduces Pre-Commitment

The Treasury Casino will become the third gambling venue in Queensland to introduce voluntary pre-commitment, according to Echo Entertainment. This will bring the total percentage of poker machines in the country equipped with the software up to 18%, and the casino operator believes that it certainly helps with reducing problem gambling rates.

The machines will be installed with software that will allow them to set a limit on how much they can spend during their session. Once that money is spent, they are barred from playing for the rest of the night.

This seems to be a great initiative, allowing players to prevent themselves from developing unhealthy gambling habits. However, anti-gambling advocate Nick Xenophon is not impressed with the plan. He believes that in order for pre-commitment to work, it must be mandatory; otherwise, those that need help the most are not receiving assistance with managing their gambling addictions.

However, a recent study has shown that many problem gamblers are aware they have issues but refuse to seek help out of pride. With voluntary pre-commitment, these individuals can work towards developing healthy habits without publically admitting they have a problem – making it a very attractive option.

Greens Do Not Support Sky City Conference Centre

Earlier this week, it was revealed that Sky City has made a remarkable financial performance of the course of 2011. The company saw profits jumped by 17%, so the Green Party wonders why the company needs to expand its gambling operations.

Over the course of the past year, Sky City has been negotiating with local councillors for the contract to build a new conference centre in Auckland. The casino operator would cover the entire cost of construction – and all it asks for in return is for the government to bend some gambling laws for it.

Sky City wants to be able to exceed the local cap for pokies and gaming tables, and hopes that its deal with the local government will allow it to do so. While it seems like an airtight deal, the Greens have poked some holes in it.

After seeing Sky City’s financial results for the year, the Green Party has publically asked “Why?”. The political party does not see any reason for the government to allow the casino operator to install more poker machines, especially since Sky City is already thriving.

They wonder if the casino really needs that much more revenue. If so, The Greens propose expanding the casino in other ways that do not exceed the pokies cap.

Queenstown Casino Missed Out On Rugby Cup Revenue

The World Rugby Cup, hosted last year in New Zealand, brought a great deal of tourism dollars into the economy. Hotels, entertainment venues and casinos all saw a boost in revenue – except for Sky City Queenstown, which seems to have missed out.

Across the country, Sky City Casinos raked in over $30 million as a result of the tourism brought in by the Rugby World Cup. Sky City Queenstown, however, was not as fortunate. Casino goers seemed to avoid the area, leaving Queenstown out of the gambling free-for-all.

Queenstown seemed to see the largest influx of players during Chinese New Years’ early on in 2012. Asian gamblers set upon the Sky City Casino, bringing with them valuable gambling revenue. However, the activity failed to make up for the lack of profits earned during the Rugby World Cup.

However, Sky City Queenstown could stand to be much worse off. Christchurch Casino has yet to recover from the recent earthquake that hit the area, and it does not seem like the gambling venue will be bringing in casino dollars any time soon.

Details About International Gambling Conference Released

The Crown Hotel Plaza in New Zealand will be the host site of the International Gambling Conference for 2012. This year’s event will be the 4th anniversary of the conference, marking a significant dedication to safe and responsible gambling around the world.

This year’s theme is “Shaping the Future of Gambling – Positive Change through Policy, Practice and Research”. Researchers, operators and problem gambling advocates from around the world will gather at the event to present and share their ideas about where the gambling industry is headed. Topic are likely to include online gambling, mobile gambling and regulation.

On the first day, two very influential individuals will make keynote speeches. Manuka Henare, Associate Dean of the University of Auckland Business School will speak about the link between entertainment and gambling while former rugby player Ashley Gordon will present his views on problem gambling in aboriginal communities.

Nick Xenophon will also make an appearance at the event. On February 24th, he will present his views on gambling reform, an issue that is well-known to be very important to him.

With these events and more, New Zealand’s International Gambling Conference is expected to be a an important examination of safe and responsible gambling in the country.

Zynga Poker Revenue in the Billions

Zynga Poker is the most popular play-money online poker application for residents of New Zealand. Millions of users across the country and around the world log into the Facebook accounts every day just to play this particular game. Some players only have Facebook accounts just so that they can play on Zynga Poker.

So, it is no wonder that Zynga Poker is a profitable online game. What you may not be aware of, however, is the fact that the application brought in over $1 billion in revenue last year – $1.14 billion to be exact.

While Zynga Poker is a free-play casino game, the app generates a great deal of money through ad revenue. Players can also purchase chips when they run low on their play money funds. Together, these two sources of revenue have made Zynga the most profitable free-play casino game ever.

So, it is little surprise that Zynga would be considering entering the online gambling market. The company has expressed interested in working with online casino brands to introduce pay-to-play games in the online gambling world. Using Zynga Poker’s profitability as a guide, we believe that this venture would be a successful one.