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Christchurch man accused of running NZ’s largest illegal lottery, generating more than $11m

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A Christchurch man and his company have been charged after an investigation identified what is allegedly the largest illegal lottery in New Zealand history, with more than $11.1 million generated.

An investigation by the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) found defendants allegedly personally benefitted from selling illegal lotteries via online platforms, with prizes like high-value cars, boats, caravans, cash and a freehold house on offer.

“In a little over a year, the illegal lottery allegedly generated $11,125,466.65, making it the largest illegal lottery ever identified in New Zealand,” a statement from DIA said.

The defendants appeared in the Christchurch District Court this afternoon and have been charged with conducting illegal gambling, promoting illegal gambling, and making a pecuniary gain from illegal gambling.

Under the Gambling Act 2003, gambling with prizes that exceed $5000 can only be conducted by a not-for-profit society for authorised purposes. It also requires a Class 3 gambling licence to ensure the integrity of the operation and protection of participants.

DIA said following a referral, police have also taken proceedings in the High Court against the defendants.

The Herald has approached police for comment.

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

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

For more information on New Zealand gambling regulation visit dia.govt.nz/Gambling.

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