TPPA and Gambling in New Zealand
TPPA maycircumvent Sky City’s limitation on stricter gambling laws. According to Jane Kelsey, Professor from the Auckland University, theoretically, the Parliament of New Zealand is entitled to adopt and repeal laws on gambling. But inpractice, a backroom contract between Sky City and the National government maybaffle effective game regulation for the future 35 years.
What Is Trans-Pacific Partnership?
The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) is a trade agreement between 12 countries, among which there are New Zealand, the United States, Australia, Canada, Japan, Mexico, Malaysia, Brunei, Chile, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam. The convention was signed on 4 February 2016 but has not been duly ratified. After the United States withdrew its signature, the agreement could not enterinto force. The rest of the countries entered into a new trade contract called Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, which includes most of the provisions of the TPPA and took effect on December 30, 2018.
The TPPA includes measures to reduce non-tariff and tariff restraints to trade and implement an investor-state dispute settlement model. Many observers claim thata trade deal would serve a geopolitical goal, namely, to decrease dependence of the mentioned countries from Chinese trade and bring them closer to the United States.
How Does TPPA Influence New Zealand Gambling?
Taking into account new provisions of the TPP agreement, the regulation of the gambling market in New Zealand will under go several changes. Parliament will still have the right to change the law to revoke or revise a online casino license until 2048, reduce the number of slot machines or gaming tables for which it is guaranteed, or impose more burden some “harm reduction” obligations. But all that is at a price.
Following the chapters of the recently published agreement, the government will have to pay compensation to the company, although the amount is limited. The convention says nothing about a forum for disputes. As a rule, breach of contract is considered in the national courts of New Zealand according to the domestic contract law, which was developed with reference to the norms and interests that have evolved although the parties could apply to national arbitration.
What Can Be Consequences for the New Zealand Gambling Market?
Professor Kelsey warned that foreign investors could also initiate legal proceedings against the government for violating New Zealand’s international investment obligations if the new law significantly cut casino profitability or the value of its shares. This case would be considered in a private offshore tribunal according to an increasingly discredited arbitration system, which isover-priced and notorious for pro-investors.
As Professor Kelsey concluded, opposition parties are outraged about the agreement. And it is essential that TPPA does not provide foreign investors in the gambling market with more ammunition to protect their profits at public expense.