An advertisement for PokerStars.net screened on New Zealand’s TV3 television channel has created controversy in the country and launched an investigation by the Internal Affairs Department.
According to the New Zealand Herald, the nine-year-old daughter of John Stansfield, Chief Executive for the Problem Gambling Foundation, watched the advert during an episode of The Simpsons.
TV3 stated that it was standing by its decision to screen the commercial because it was vetted by the Television Commercials Approval Bureau, the body that pre-screens all television advertisements before they go to air in line with guidelines form the Advertising Standards Authority.
“This ad was deemed acceptable outside of children’s programme time, the same classification awarded to TAB and Lotto commercials,” said Roger Beaumont, Marketing Director for TV3.
An Internal Affairs Department spokesman said his office was investigating complaints from several sources about the advert and would decide by the end of January what action to take.
Stansfield stated that the commercial encouraged young people to think poker was a game of skill and that they could become stars if they practised enough. “We have been trying to get the Department of Internal Affairs to do something about it but TV3 should pull it themselves,” said Stansfield.
New Zealand’s Gambling Act bans online or “remote interactive gambling” unless it is promoted by the Lotteries Commission, comes under the Racing Act, is conducted by someone outside the country or is a sales promotion scheme in the form of a lottery. It also bans “advertising for overseas gambling”.