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Charges laid over ‘largest ever illegal lottery in NZ’

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A Christchurch man and company have been charged with gambling offences after allegedly generating more than $11 million in illegal online lotteries.

According to the Department of Internal Affairs, it was the largest illegal lottery ever identified in New Zealand.

Appearing in Christchurch District Court this afternoon, the defendants were charged with conducting illegal gambling, promoting illegal gambling, and making a pecuniary gain from illegal gambling under the Gambling Act 2003.

It is alleged the defendants personally benefited from selling illegal lotteries via online platforms with prizes such as high value cars, boats, caravans, cash and a freehold house on offer.

In a little over a year, it was alleged the illegal lottery generated $11,125,466.65.

Under the Act, gambling with prizes that exceeded $5000 could only be conducted by a not-for-profit society for authorised purposes and required a class 3 gambling licence to ensure the integrity of the operation and protection of participants.

Following a referral from DIA, the New Zealand Police have also lodged proceedings in the High Court against the defendants under the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act 2009.

“Our strict licensing requirements are there for a reason,” said Department of Internal Affairs gambling director Vicki Scott. “We will not hesitate to respond firmly when we see instances of illegal gambling such as unlicensed online lotteries.

“We have no tolerance for those who seek to profit by bypassing the rules.”

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