Looking back at 20 years of Sports Betting

This article was shared with NZRB staff in July 2016: This month, NZRB celebrates 20 years of sports betting. That first sports betting event, on 6 July 1996, was the year’s first Bledisloe Cup Test, where the All Blacks beat Australia 43-6 at Athletic Park. This was also the first All Blacks Tri-Nations test match, as well as being the first Bledisloe Cup test of the professional era.

Tens of thousands of New Zealanders had earlier followed in the footsteps of All Black legend Colin Meads, who took the first sports bet at our Courtenay Place branch in Wellington on 24 June 1996.

Pinetree had a successful punt on the All Blacks to win 13+, and also took First Try Scorer selections of Josh Kronfeld ($14) and Robin Brooke ($40). Intriguingly, both came very close to scoring.

After David Campese put a try saving tackle on Jeff Wilson in the corner, the ball was batted out by Australia in the corner. Robin Brooke then took the following lineout and looked like he’d be driven over, however he had Kronfeld in direct support, but the ball made its way back to Michael Jones who scored the try off the back of the driving maul.

New Zealanders bet $1.15 million on that first match, with $200,000 coming on in the last hour before kick-off. Although not massive when compared to major racing events of the time, the Bledisloe Cup was Australasia’s largest single sports betting event ever at the time.


Jetbet moves to the Cloud


For the last 30 years, the TAB’s core betting system, Jetbet, has been run out of NZRB’s Data Centre on the second floor of the National Office in Wellington. Although that location has maintained standard practice for much of that time, Jetbet became more at risk every day as data and recovery practices changed worldwide. In the last financial year, Jetbet processed 1.2 billion bets, all contributing to $2.7 billion of turnover annually. 


Moving Jetbet to a new Cloud-based infrastructure has been in our plan from the day we initiated the Optimus Programme, which is part of our IT roadmap that sees a significant modernisation of our IT services. It’s all part of the work we’re doing to develop our information technology systems that do what we need them to do, to ensure we can consistently and reliably deliver racing and betting to our customers.


So it was with a huge amount of careful planning, testing, and a team of 35 on site (NZRB, Spark and partners) and 38 on-call throughout the night, that the Data Centre was successfully moved from the Wellington office to the Revera Data Centre in Takapuna, which included completely shutting down Jetbet for almost eight hours.


This effectively puts Jetbet and its associated systems into the Cloud, meaning that runs on virtualised services that are mirrored in Revera’s Trentham Datacentre, It is no longer run on physical servers that NZRB owns and runs, but rather  across a wider server network that is much more secure and scalable in support of our growing business. To give you an idea of just how secure it is, Revera’s clients include Government and...


Courtesy largely of the TAB’s broadcast of the NBA on its Watch&Bet world sports streaming service, as well as the popularity of the New Zealand Breakers in the Australian National Basketball League, kiwis bet more than $79 million on basketball in 2014/15, putting it in the number one spot for betting turnover, ahead of football at $67 million.

The TAB contributes a share of betting turnover and profit to each National Sporting Organisation on whose sport it takes bets. The TAB returned more than $6.1 million to New Zealand NSOs in 2014/15, providing an important revenue stream to help them grow and develop their sports.

For basketball, 2014/15 was a big year.

“We’ll receive well over $1 million from the TAB for the year, which will help us promote the game in New Zealand”, said Basketball New Zealand chief executive Iain Potter.

The results another indicator that basketball is growing in popularity here. It’s great for Kiwi basketball fans to know that their betting with the TAB ends up supporting the game in New Zealand. For instance, the TAB helped fund our national age-group tournament, and a range of gaming grants go towards grassroots level basketball across the country.

While rugby union remains the top betting choice at the TAB by total bets, with more than 70,000 TAB account customers having punt on rugby union during the year, higher value bets placed by almost 26,000 basketball fans puts the sport in top spot.


1. Basketball
2. Football
3. Rugby Union
4. Cricket
5. Rugby League
6. Tennis
7. Baseball
8. American Football
9. Netball
10. Golf
11. Darts


Find out what’s been happening at the NZ Racing Board in the February issue of Inside Running.

In this issue CEO John Allen shares his observations from a summer of racing so far, results come in from Christmas at the Races, Interislander Summer Festival and the new Multi page, we go behind the scenes with the bookies and much more.


New Zealand Racing Board (NZRB) Chair Glenda Hughes has today welcomed the findings of an off-shore betting working group announced by the Minister for Racing, Nathan Guy.

Speaking at the organisations’ Annual General Meeting in Petone today, Minister Guy outlined recommendations designed to combat the impact of off-shore betting on racing and sport.

These include the introduction of an offshore bookmaker fee and changes to the Racing Act designed to make NZRB more competitive.

It is estimated that New Zealanders spend with overseas agencies an estimated $58 million of gross betting revenue (turnover less dividends) from a total turnover of up to $518 million per year. Further, corporate bookmakers take an estimated $300 million of betting on New Zealand’s domestic racing product.

Hughes says offshore bookies are freeloading on quality New Zealand sport and racing products – they contribute nothing back to our domestic racing industry, they give nothing back to our local communities and pay nothing to the New Zealand Government.

“The purpose of NZRB is to ensure the benefits from betting go to funding sport and racing, but offshore bookmakers erode this return back to the community,” says Hughes.

“It is not just for the Government to act, the NZRB also needs to be more competitive, ensure that Kiwis can get the same level of service and product offerings as are available offshore,” says Hughes.

In 2013/14, NZRB contributed $47.5 million in duties, tax and levies to the Government.

NZRB CEO John Allen says the Governments recommendations are pleasing news for an industry that contributes $1.6 billion to the New Zealand economy and employs more than 17,...