Online Gambling In New Zealand

Current Legal Status:

  • In terms of the Gambling Act of 2003, it is not explicitly prohibited nor illegal for a player living in New Zealand to play at an online casino that is based overseas
  • Online sports betting in New Zealand is controlled by the New Zealand Racing Board, the only provider of racing and sports betting services in New Zealand. Online sports betting follows the same law as online casino gambling in New Zealand, meaning it is legal as long as it is run outside New Zealand and accepts Kiwi players.
  • The same laws apply to online poker as it is legal as long as it is played at a casino outside of New Zealand.

Top Online Gambling Sites

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Regulations for NZ players and Online Gambling Sites

Regarding New Zealand regulations for online gambling, the NZ government legislated this venue long ago. In 2003, the Gambling Act was passed, which states that it is legal for NZ residents to gamble online if the casino is located outside NZ jurisdiction. However, one section of the Act states that NZ residents cannot participate in online gambling if the operators’ website is within NZ jurisdiction. This makes the question about whether NZ players are legally entitled to gamble in online casinos obvious, with a positive answer, since there are no casino operators online situated on NZ territory.

The NZ government has clarified some other additional questions about online gambling. In compliance with the Gambling Act, all NZ players are allowed to participate in online poker and sports betting since these areas fall into the same category as all online gambling. Furthermore, NZ players should be aware that all winnings from online gambling are excluded from annual income tax reports.

A Brief History of Gambling in New Zealand

Gambling is considered one of the oldest gaming activities in the world. Even though gambling is sometimes frowned upon by more conservative individuals, you will likely find different sorts of gambling in every culture. Presently, the gambling industry has more activity than in previous years and is worth billions. And just like the rest of the world, gambling is a big part of New Zealand’s gaming culture.

While gambling has been played in New Zealand for centuries, the activity we know today came to the country with the first European settlers. Gambling was a popular activity during the colonial period. However, this was changed once the Gambling Act of 1908 was passed and only allowed legal gambling to occur at New Zealand’s racetracks. Despite this law, gambling grew in popularity, and in 1951, the laws against gambling became somewhat more liberal.

The Golden Kiwi Lottery was soon introduced, which only grew the popularity of gambling in the country. The first legal casino to open in New Zealand was in Christchurch in 1994. Altogether, New Zealand has six legal casinos, including establishments in Dunedin, Queenstown, Hamilton, and Auckland. SkyCity Casino is the largest casino in the country, while SkyCity Entertainment Group is the largest operator in New Zealand. In terms of online gambling, NZ online casinos have done a lot to change how Kiwis gamble and have contributed to the surge in gambling revenue in recent years. In New Zealand, operating an online casino is illegal, but residents over 18 can legally play at casinos based overseas.

History of Casinos in NZ

Who Decides What’s Legal?

The country’s Internal Affairs Department tightly regulates gambling within New Zealand. A few decades back, we note that various forms of gambling had all sorts of legal statuses; for example, bookmaking wasn’t legal until 1961 when the Totalizator Agency Board (TAB) made horse race betting legal across the country. Currently, though, the legality of gambling in New Zealand is governed by the Gambling Act of 2003. Gambling is generally classified into four categories of legal betting, and any deviation from these classes is described as illegal. In addition, all gambling has to return a percentage of the proceeds to the community. Since no legal casinos are operating online in New Zealand, these are not included in this stipulation.

In addition, the Act prohibits ‘remote interactive gambling. This essentially refers to casino and sports betting ventures that are accessed via electronic devices. However, this law states that while it is illegal to host an online casino in New Zealand, it is neither prohibited nor illegal for New Zealanders to play at casinos based outside the country. The Racing Act of 2003 controls sports betting and racing in New Zealand.

Most governments have voted on gambling bills that enable online gambling to be regulated by law, providing clear information on what the resident country players can or cannot do regarding online gambling. Some countries have banned their residents from making financial transactions in online casinos (UIGEA act, USA). At the same time, most allow online gambling but require the casino operator to follow and comply with regulations.

The best example is the UK, as the parliament voted a bill to regulate online gambling for all UK residents and online operators who do business on UK soil, but imposed all operators to acquire the UK Gambling Commission License and pay a yearly fee to the UK government. This step will ensure that the UK players will be protected to the full extent of the law.

How are NZ Players Protected?

The regulations imposed by the 2003 Gambling Act by the NZ government are straightforward and precise. NZ players are allowed to gamble online in casino operators based outside NZ territory, and operators are prohibited from setting up operations on NZ soil.

This is a clever and simple solution to resolve everything about online gambling with one move, freeing the NZ government of any liability from online gambling.
At first, NZ players may seem left on their own to the mercy of online casino operators, but you can rest assured that you will be protected if any problems occur while gambling online. As we mentioned before, strict regulations have been imposed on online casinos lately, forcing them to operate professionally and safely.

The licensing regulator a specific casino holds is the best way to solve any problems between the casino and the player. They will review the case in question and make a nonbiased decision in favor of one side.

The regulators take their responsibility very seriously to protect players from potentially rogue and unfair casino operators online. Suppose the online casino operator in question is found to have deliberately damaged the player in any way possible. In that case, their operations may be suspended and their license revoked, with further potential legal acts taken.

Safe Online Gambling

There is one straightforward reason why it doesn’t work in the casino’s favor to misbehave in any way toward online players. Today there are a vast number of operators who offer instant withdrawals, problem-free payments, and top-of-the-line services.

If that number was a handful a few years ago, today, it is measured in the hundreds. If a player has problems in one casino, the complaints will be quickly passed among the gambling community thanks to sites like NZonlinecasinos.kiwi. This will drive away depositing players from that casino, and they won’t make any revenue to continue operating. The time of rogue casinos online is behind us. Today, the only profitable way to work is by offering top-of-the-line services, attracting many depositing players online.

Recommended Legal Online Gambling Sites for New Zealanders

If you are unsure about what to look out for when choosing a legal casino for New Zealand players online, here we have listed some of the most recognized names in the industry that accept Kiwi players.

Remember that any online gambling sites operating within the boundaries of New Zealand are not legal. Make sure the casino works outside of New Zealand before joining the site and depositing any real money.

Last Updated: December 30, 2022