Internal Affairs says $10mil jackpot win “looks suspicious”

By Semi Holland
  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty

The Department of Internal Affairs is looking into an alleged $10mil win by a Matamata man which it says looks suspicious. Rawiri Pou apparently won the jackpot after playing on an online website. The Problem Gambling Foundation say it's illegal to promote an international online gambling site in NZ and is also advising caution.

Rawiri Pou (Ngāpuhi) is celebrating a win worth over $10mil.

However, Andree Froude from the Problem Gambling Foundation has raised concerns regarding the international online gambling company Casinoland.

“Our concern is that it’s not legal to promote an overseas online gambling site in New Zealand so we have made a complaint to the DIA and they are investigating it.”

Pou paid $250 to Casinoland's online gambling website. He won $1500 and put it back for the Jackpot round. He was overwhelmed when he actually won.

"I was just like overwhelmed, like I wasn't even sleeping, I was like scared you know excited,” says Pou.

Pou and his mother were driven to Auckland by Casinoland and accommodated at the Heritage Hotel where a press conference was held this morning.

The move has prompted a warning from the Problem Gambling Foundation.

“Online gambling in this environment is unregulated. This is an overseas site, we know there are lots of scams, so we want people to be very very cautious," says Froude.

Pou says, “Think before you act, it’s scary though because I don’t want to be that kind of person who does the I won this, and you can do it too. Don’t do that.”

In a statement to Te Kāea, the Department of Internal Affairs said:

"CasinoLand has not been brought to the Department's attention but, based on reports of other large so-called "wins" in online lottery scams, it is suspicious. The Department will be following up the report."

Froude warns, “I think until the money goes into that gentlemen’s bank account there’s no cause to celebrate.”

A Ministry of Health report in 2012 found that Māori and Pacific people were more likely to be at risk of gambling problems than any other ethnic group.

In a statement to Te Kāea, Casinoland said that it takes problem gambling very seriously and players should gamble in moderation.

If you or anyone has a gambling problem, for help, contact the Problem Gambling Foundation or go to their website or phone the Gambling helpline on 0800 654 655.

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