Thanks to the European settlers during the colonial period in New Zealand, betting grew everywhere during the late 19th century and the early 20th century. However, any form of betting was considered illegal by the law, until the 1908 Gambling Act. New Zealand’s gambling industry is worth an estimated $2 billion annually, and with business booming, regulation is an undeniable necessity.
Can Kiwi players legally enjoy our featured online casinos? Keep reading and find out more about New Zealand’s online casino gambling laws and under which conditions online casino gambling is legal in New Zealand.
The Gambling Act of 2003
The Gambling Act aims to control the growth of gambling and prevent and minimize the harm caused by gambling, including problem gambling. The Gambling Act also ensures the integrity and fairness of all casino games, limits opportunities for crime or dishonesty, ensures that money from gambling benefits the community, and facilitates community involvement.
There are many components of the Gambling Act of 2003, but possibly the most important is the age of participation. Under New Zealand gaming law, online casino players must be 20 years or older to gamble inside a casino. Anyone wanting to play the lottery, place a sports bet, or scratch a scratchcard game must be 18 or older. While age is a significant factor of the Gambling Act, some of their main goals for NZ casinos include:
- To control the growth of casino gambling and sportsbook betting
- Minimize problems with gambling addiction
- To make it easier for players to gamble responsibly
- Maintain fairness and integrity
- Ensure some proceeds are returned to the community
- Verify that the groups running the machines are accountable and responsible
Online NZD / NZ$ Casinos
The New Zealand Gambling Act of 2003 began by applying the Acts to land-based casinos and bookmakers but has been amended to include all live activities and remote betting in these areas: Online Casinos, online poker, online bingo, online lotteries, and all forms of mobile betting.
As with most laws globally, many people get confused when it comes to figuring out where players from New Zealand can enjoy online gaming and online betting. The gambling laws only apply to remote gambling within New Zealand, and to this end, Kiwi players are allowed to gamble for real money in the case of overseas betting. This means that Kiwi online gamers can’t place online bets with an operator based in New Zealand but can place their bets with operators outside New Zealand. Oddly enough, players from New Zealand aren’t prevented from betting online, but offshore companies aren’t allowed to advertise their services within New Zealand.
If you’re interested in reading a little more about New Zealand’s gambling laws and want to find out which online NZ$ casino sites are legally available for Kiwi players, follow our link and find out more.
So When is Online Gambling allowed in New Zealand?
The Department of Internal Affairs is responsible for controlling and licensing each legal gambling class, as determined by the prize values and gaming methods.
- Class 1 gambling – For prizes greater than $500, all turnover of the gambling, less the costs, must be applied to reward the gambling winners. This is the only class that individuals can run.
- Class 2 gambling – For prizes with a total value between $500 and $5,000, turnover must exceed $500 but can’t exceed $25,000. Class 2 gambling must be conducted by societies as defined in the Gambling Act and requires no license.
- Class 3 gambling – For prizes of over $5,000, Class 4 gambling refers to gambling that uses gaming machines. A license is required.
Who Regulates Gambling in New Zealand?
Gambling in New Zealand is regulated by four governmental agencies, Department of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Health, Gambling Commission, and The New Zealand Lotteries Commission.
The Department of Internal Affairs
Writes legislation about gambling and is in charge of licensing gambling activities, except for casinos. The Department also prosecutes violators of the law and educates the public about the casino laws.
The Ministry of Health
Provide funds and services for problem gamblers. The Ministry of Health published a six-year strategic plan for 2011-2016 and a three-year plan for Preventing and Minimizing Gambling Harm in 2011-2013.
The Gambling Commission
Manages all licensing for casinos, including new licenses and license renewals, and reviews agreements between casino operators and the casino license holders. The Gambling Commission also collects all complaints, and advises Ministers about problem gambling, and receives and makes decisions on appeals.
The New Zealand Lotteries Commission
Regulates all lotteries in New Zealand and passes profits on to the New Zealand Lottery Grants Board. The Lotteries Commission also updates Online Casino Laws in New Zealand. In August 2019, the New Zealand Government expressed an interest in keeping its laws and regulations up to date. The Department of Internal Affairs reported that New Zealand has “grey laws,” which means there is no legislation banning offshore online casinos or bookmakers from targeting their citizens. A New Zealand DIA official was quoted saying, “We need to update our laws for today’s digital world and future-proof them as much as possible.”
When it comes to gambling at NZ Dollar Casinos for Kiwi players, so much has changed in the last decade alone. A reported $3 million are spent in offshore casinos and betting sites each year, and since The Gambling Act of 2003, New Zealand’s gambling laws are said to be out of date since there haven’t been any significant changes. The Department of Internal Affairs has the goal to regulate the industry while simultaneously earning the government tax. The DIA claims that its primary motivation is the safety of its country’s citizens. By regulating online gambling, not only would the DIA gain better control of gambling habits in New Zealand, but the country as a whole can benefit financially from having locally-operated casinos taking over the online casino space. It’s interesting to see how this will pan out.