The Fun Police are out in force making sure people aren’t able to enjoy themselves:
Internal Affairs has mounted a crackdown on big spot prizes at expos and fishing competitions, warning organisers they constitute illegal gambling.
Officials have sent cease-and-desist letters to 15 organisations, informing them that events with an entry fee cannot have door giveaways, raffles or barrel draws with prizes worth more than $500.
Beach and Boat Fishing Competition organiser Tony Wheeler has put ticket sales to New Zealand’s biggest fishing tournament on hold, after receiving the letter this month. He is scrambling to figure out how to comply with the Department of Internal Affairs’ strict conditions.
Only certain licensed organisations, like the Lotteries Commission, charitable trusts and SkyCity casino, are allowed to run games of chance.
The crackdown comes after a complaint from a pokies trust, which argued that its business was being undermined by events like A&P shows and trade shows that give away spot prizes such as cars, boats and holidays.
Wheeler’s annual competition is the biggest fishing tournament in the country with 2100 competitors and more than $220,000 worth of spot prizes, including a boat and a car. The heavily-promoted $100,000 prize for catching a special snapper – tagged by the officials and thrown back in – is alleged to breach the Gambling Act.
Catching a tagged fish requires some knowledge or skill, but Internal Affairs believes winning relies on a large element of chance. Fishing competitions are still allowed to award prizes for catching the most fish, or the biggest fish, because this is regarded as skill.
It is obvious that this law is a throw back, and needs to be repealed. Blatant protectionism of gambling rackets is what it is.