Legal Gambling in New Zealand

Gambling is one of the oldest pastimes in the world and has been immensely popular in New Zealand for hundreds of years. The pastime has, over the years, undergone much controversy and strict regulation, but these days, New Zealanders are able to legally participate in a variety of different legal gambling forms that are all ultimately regulated by the Department of Internal Affairs.

The forms of legal gambling allowed include all types of sports betting, betting on horseraces, playing lotteries, placing bets and playing at land based casinos, playing pokies and playing at internationally based online and mobile casinos.

New Zealand has a fairly liberal view of gambling and, compared to many other countries, has gambling laws that are much easier to understand. Since the Department of Internal Affairs oversees all legal gambling activities, players in New Zealand can find much less confusion as to who regulates what.

A Brief History of Gambling Laws

In the early 1800s, New Zealanders primarily bet on horseracing, which saw the beginning of the rise in popularity of various forms of gambling. A New Zealander by the name of George Julius invented the automatic totalisator, more commonly known as the tote board, in 1913 which is the board displaying which position a horse is in during a race. This invention made a huge impact on horseracing betting which is still seen today.

There were many periods over the years where gambling of various forms was prohibited, but today, legal gambling in New Zealand brings in huge revenue. An incredibly large portion of the population who are of legal age participate in some form of gambling or another. All of the legal public gambling entities must donate a portion of their profits, which is then used to better and uplift communities.

Today there are a small amount of land based casinos that legally operate, but New Zealanders must play at internationally based online or mobile casinos if they wish to play at a virtual casino. New Zealand is yet to legally allow New Zealanders to play at New Zealand based online or mobile casinos.

Regulating Bodies of Gambling in New Zealand

The Gambling Commission under the Department of Internal Affairs is the regulating body of the legal gambling industry in New Zealand. The Gambling Commission was officially established in 2003, and is the authority that issues licenses to casinos and gambling entities.

It is the Gambling Commission that specifies what the conditions for licensing casinos and gambling entities are, and is the authority that holds the power to approve any agreements made between the casino operators and the holders of the casino venue licenses.

New Zealand’s Gambling Act of 2003

The Gambling Act of 2003 stipulates that all gambling in New Zealand is prohibited unless it is pre-approved by the government of the country. All legal gambling in the country is categorized into four different classes that each require a different license issued by the government in order for them to operate. Each class has its own limits with regards to turnover and prize amounts.

The minimum age limit for playing at land based casinos is 20 years of age, while sports bettors must be at least 18 years of age in order to place bets.

Most gambling activities are allowed across the board in New Zealand but the two types of gambling that are completely prohibited are bookmaking and playing at local online casinos.

The law, in fact, states that New Zealanders are prohibited from playing online at any locally licensed land based online casinos, but anyone of the legal age can play at any online casino that is licensed and based anywhere else in the world. These international online casinos are, however, prohibited from any type of advertising within the borders of New Zealand.

Laws Revolving Around Online Gambling

Since New Zealanders are free to play at international online and mobile casinos, they must take it upon themselves to ensure they play at legally licensed and safe ones. Players from New Zealand are welcome at many international online and mobile casinos who even accept NZD, but not all of them operate safe and reliably.

It is up to a player to find a safe environment that legally accepts them, accepts NZD, provides accessible banking options, pays out as fast as possible and provides completely fair casino games of good quality. The government of New Zealand cannot be held liable for any problems associated with playing at an internationally licensed and based online or mobile casino.

While players in New Zealand cannot report any slights or unfair practises to their own government when playing at international online and mobile casinos, they can contact and report such issues to the authority who has licensed the specific online or mobile casino. The independent organizations that ensure fair legal gambling and that have certified the specific online or mobile casino can also be contacted as they have the power to investigate any disputes.

Players are not subject to paying income tax on any of their winnings, provided they are legally playing at international online or mobile casinos. Banking institutions in New Zealand allow financial transactions, such as deposits and withdrawals, at international online and mobile casinos.

Responsible Gaming in New Zealand

New Zealand is now a liberal country when it comes to gambling, and with strict regulations it can oversee and profit from it. Funds raised and donated to communities are beneficial.

The fact that legal online gambling is only allowed at international online and mobile casinos may mean players in New Zealand are not as protected as they would be if the local government regulated them, but New Zealand itself is dedicated to responsible gaming because of its liberal views on gambling.

The country provides many resources to help those in need to overcome problem gambling. There are multiple foundations and organizations that offer help in the form of addiction helplines, support groups and various other forms of counselling.