Security Worries Delay NZ Net Lotto

Internet sales of lottery tickets and other online games in New Zealand are still "many months away" because issues such as system integrity and security still have to be worked out, the Lotteries Commission says.

IT manager Martin Cassidy says online possibilities have been under consideration for a year, but nothing would be launched this year.

"We are looking at different types of products to go on the Net. We see ourselves as providing entertainment games. What we are doing is investigating games that people wish to pay for and win prizes," he says.

Cassidy says the games are likely to be Sony Playstation-type games that would help the commission make more profit. However, it was still determining whether these games would be best delivered over televisions, PCs or the Net.

The commission is expected to launch a Web site within weeks. It is believed representatives from large U.S. online gambling company Gtech Holdings will hold talks with the commission within the next few weeks.The push for online gambling comes as the government is about to review the entire New Zealand gambling industry.

The review, due to start in a month or so, is expected to take two years, covering racing, casinos, poker machines, sports betting and other options as well as online gambling. Funding for it was announced in the June government budget.

At present, the New Zealand betting agency TAB has a monopoly on online betting in New Zealand and there are no specific regulations covering electronic gambling.

Internal affairs minister Mark Burton says the country does not need "ad hoc" legislation, but the government would make an early decision on Internet gambling if there were sufficient concerns.

The TAB has said much of its future development will be focused online.

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