A shock law change means Kiwis travelling to Australia will find themselves struggling to have a bet on their TAB account or watch New Zealand racing.

And in a move that could cost the New Zealand TAB millions of dollars, all Australian-based punters are now banned from betting with our TAB.

The restrictions came into force on Wednesday as the recently-passed Australian Interactive Gambling Amendment Act became law in Australia.

The law was effectively passed so undesirable betting agencies and exchanges operating outside of Australia - particularly the underground Asian-based sites - could no longer offer betting on sport and racing to Australia-based clients.


But the New Zealand TAB, who has close ties to Australia's Tabcorp through its co-mingling and broadcasting agreements, have been caught up in the law.

The new law means any betting agency not holding a licence under the law of an Australian territory, and the New Zealand Racing Board does not hold one, faces millions in fines if they allow Australians to bet with them and that agencies directors can face criminal charges.

So the New Zealand Racing Board has been forced to contact all its Australian clients and tell them their TAB accounts are closed.

That alone will cost the NZRB millions in lost turnover but what is impossible to calculate is how much it will cost in turnover from New Zealand punters who are travelling or living part-time in Australia.

As of yesterday, no computer with an Australian IP address will be able to access the New Zealand TAB site. This means any Kiwi punter heading to Australia intending to use a local computer or their mobile phone through a wifi connection will be blocked from using the TAB site, and therefore having a bet.

The one loophole could be New Zealanders travelling to Australia but using their mobile data on a roaming plan, who may still be able to access the TAB site.

NZRB now have to work out how to navigate the problem long-term as it looks certain, with their close Australian ties, they weren't intended to be among the restricted operators but legally they are.

They could apply for an Australian operations licence, which is not cheap, or for dispensation from the block.

But for now, as racing's golden spring approaches, the New Zealand TAB is off limits to those living in Australia or travelling there, which means they also can't watch New Zealand racing on many phones or computers.