School fundraisers hope for change to sell tickets online

The Government has agreed to review its gambling laws after a Waiheke community group said it was hindering them from raising money for a local school playground.

The legislation means the group aren't allowed to sell raffle tickets online, but organisations like the Lotteries Commission and the Racing Board are exempt.

Community groups have been selling raffle tickets at local markets for years, but with the internet such a huge part of our lives, it was a no brainer for a group of Waiheke mums to take their fundraiser online.

But gambling laws put a stop to it.

"We live in this modern age of technology. [The law] seems a bit antiquated," organiser Michelle Hepburn says.

The group is trying to fundraise for a new playground for local Te Huruhi Primary School by selling raffles tickets for a $43,000 wedding prize package.

They say their online marketing easily reaches a national audience, but it's not as simple for people to purchase a ticket remotely. 

"People would need to go on our website to register their interest for a ticket, then we follow that up and manually process that and send it out - post it out - so it's very old fashioned," Ms Hepburn says.

The group says there are so many hurdles they came close to calling it quits.

The law prohibits what's called "remote interactive gambling" which, by definition, is gambling through a communication device like a computer or smartphone.

But the lotteries commission and racing board are exempt.

The group says that's unfair and is worried the restrictions will hinder sales.

"We're always hitting Waiheke up for fundraising and we were hoping for this to be a national fundraising drive so we are worried we're missing out on possible customers," principal Adam Cels says.

"We have had a few people register and then not follow through."

They say the law needs to change.

The Government agrees, and has launched a review.

"If the recommendation from the review comes forward to look at a change absolutely," Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne says.

"I think it is outmoded, I think it is antiquated and I think there is a very strong case for change."

In the meantime, the minister says he hopes there may be a short-term solution for the group.

It says Internal Affairs officials have been in touch, and they hope they'll have an outcome next week.