The Department of Internal Affairs

The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua

Building a safe, prosperous and respected nation

 

Agreement over soccer logo issue


20/11/2008

The Department of Internal Affairs has accepted an undertaking from the Newcastle Jets soccer team that its sponsor’s logo, advertising an Australian betting agency, will be removed from players’ jerseys when they return in January to replay the Wellington Phoenix.

Gambling Compliance Director, Mike Hill, said the Department contacted the Newcastle team this week and asked them to consider the implications of New Zealand’s Gambling Act which makes it an offence to advertise overseas gambling.

“We considered their explanation that they were unaware of our law and that they did not have time to get new logo-free jerseys before Sunday’s match. Taping over the logos was not an option as this would damage the shirts irreparably,” Mike Hill said. “Given their undertakings to rectify the situation before January’s return game and to avoid displaying the betting agency’s logo during any televised match interviews, we are confining our action in this instance to one of education and persuasion.”

The Gambling Act 2003 bans the promotion of overseas gambling in New Zealand, including online gambling, unless it is operated by the NZ Racing Board, which operates as the TAB, or the NZ Lotteries Commission. It is not illegal for New Zealanders to gamble on overseas internet sites but it is illegal to advertise such websites here.

The Act defines "publish" broadly, including newspapers and periodicals and a range of other means of conveying information, such as broadcasting, computer disc, film or video and bringing to the notice of the public in New Zealand “in any other manner”. A person who contravenes S16 (1) commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to fine not exceeding $10,000.

Television broadcasters covering the Wellington match could have a defence under the Gambling Act if the promotion of the betting agency is only incidental to the coverage of the game.

Media contact:
Mike Hill, Director of Gambling Compliance, Department of Internal Affairs,
ph 04 495 9449; cell 021 979 427
Trevor Henry, communications adviser, Department of Internal Affairs
Ph 04 495 7211; cell 0275 843 679