Online Casino History in New Zealand

It might surprise you to discover that casino gambling in New Zealand has been a part of the general community for decades, and even centuries. Gambling arrived on New Zealand’s shores along with the first European settlers from Britain, which gave the country its name and also introduced classic games from Europe like blackjack, baccarat, pokies, and much more.

Today, online casino history remains a big part of Kiwi culture, filled with fascinating information about the island’s very first land-based casino and how the industry went online. Read on to discover how gambling has evolved throughout the years on New Zealand’s soil, and what online casino games have on offer to its avid players today.

Origins Of NZ Casinos And Gambling

Gambling in New Zealand originated with the English settlers, and remained very popular during the country’s colonial period. Before the 1900’s, however, gambling was considered illegal, and even after the Gambling Act of 1908 had been passed, only horse race betting was permitted. With that said, the legalisation of betting in the early 20th century gave gambling the head-start it needed to grow rapidly, and many Kiwis began to gamble and play casino games under the radar.

Illegal gambling was common for another few decades until TAB was introduced in 1951, with state lottery games and pokies soon to follow. By the 1960’s, physical gambling parlours had begun to open to fulfil Kiwis’ desires to wager, and another few decades down the line, online casinos and groundbreaking online casino games hit the World Wide Web in the 1990’s. Today, New Zealand online casinos boast table games, pokies, betting, lotto and more, all of which offer substantial real money rewards.

How Kiwi Casinos Went Online

Before online casino games, New Zealand’s first ever land-based casino was the Christchurch Casino in 1994. However, currently, the country’s largest physical casino is actually based in the capital city of Auckland. There are also land-based casinos in Dunedin, Hamilton and Queenstown, making for a total of six casinos across both the North and South Islands.

These casinos provide completely legal gambling, as well as dining and entertainment opportunities for locals and tourists alike. SkyCity is the country’s largest casino operator, who has agreed with the national government to boost the number of pokies machines and gaming tables in Auckland at its $402 million casino floor in the heart of the city.

The Evolution Of New Zealand Online Casinos

It wasn’t long before Kiwi players were looking for a convenient way to play their favourite casino games, and online casinos were the perfect solution. While the first gambling sites appeared in the late 1990’s, Kiwi gamblers didn’t show that much interest in them at first. Regardless, it wasn’t long before New Zealand online casinos began to spring up, offering real money games and quality software from some of the web’s most popular developers at the time – like Microgaming.

In 2003, the government established two new gambling acts that revolutionised online casino history: the Gambling Act 2003, and the Racing Act 2003. In terms of online casinos, the government made two things clear. Firstly, that online casino gaming would be legal as long as the casino was not run from New Zealand itself, and secondly, that the advertising of online casinos is strictly outlawed. Winnings have remained tax free in New Zealand ever since, and a large portion of Kiwi gamblers have switched to reliable online and mobile casinos.

You can find the best online casinos for Kiwi players right here at to win big and help keep the history of New Zealand gambling alive!