Gambling is one of the most popular pastimes among New Zealanders. They can participate in horse racing, sports betting, lotteries, and play at online casinos located outside the country. The market is regulated by the Gambling Commission and ensures the safety of players. In this overview we will cover the following topics:
- How gambling evolved in New Zealand;
- What laws and regulations currently exist;
- Licensed land-based casinos and online platforms;
- Where Kiwis can turn to if having troubles with compulsive gambling.
History of Gambling in New Zealand
Kiwis got familiar with gambling when the first Europeans arrived in the country. It bloomed during the colonial years but the 1908 Gambling Act prohibited all activities apart from racetracks. The situation changed in 1951 when the Totalizator Agency Board (TAB) simplified the laws. The same year the Golden Kiwi lottery was introduced.
Horse Racing is the oldest legal gambling activity in the country because Kiwis have been betting on horses for hundreds of years. Even though in the first half of the 20th-century people could place bets only at the track, in the 60s TAB legalized horse racing bets off-track.
At the moment, there are six licensed land-based casinos in New Zealand. The first one was established in 1994 in Christchurch and since then were introduced venues in Hamilton, Auckland, Queenstown, and Dunedin.
Everything is more complicated with online gambling. According to the laws, it is illegal to operate a gambling site in New Zealand. However, players can enjoy their favorite games on international platforms without any restrictions.
Gambling Laws & Regulations
According to the Gambling Commission laws, locals can play at land-based casinos if they are 20 years and older. The legal age to purchase scratch-offs, lottery tickets, and to bet on sports is lower – 18 years.
Nowadays, online gambling in New Zealand is legal if you are playing offshore. At the moment, there are no licensed NZ online casinos, so you won’t find a local gambling site that is approved by the government.
Gambling Act 2003
The Gambling Act 2003 contains information about the laws and regulations concerning gambling activity in New Zealand. Even though it was altered twice, in 2005 and 2015, the main issues remain the same. The general goals of the act include:
- Controlling online gambling;
- Preventing and reducing any gambling-related harm;
- Authorizing and prohibiting gambling;
- Making sure that the money from online gambling is used for the sake of the community;
- Promoting responsible gambling;
- Ensuring fairness of games;
- Monitoring unlawful activities in the industry;
- Holding public discussions on gambling’s influence.
Present Gambling Commissions
At the moment, gambling in New Zealand is regulated by the Gambling Commission. It is an independent body founded under the Gambling Act 2003. Its main functions are:
- Evaluating applicants for casino licenses and their renewals;
- Confirming agreements between casino operators and the government;
- Specifying and altering license conditions;
- Considering complaints of the operators and other bodies related to gambling;
- Advising the Ministry of Internal Affairs on gambling-related questions.
Land-Based Casinos in New Zealand
While in many countries of the world brick and mortar casinos are losing popularity, in New Zealand everything is quite the opposite. Players love visiting offline venues, making friends, and having a meal afterward. At the moment, there are six land-based casinos in the country and the first was launched in 1994. Here are all land-based casinos for New Zealanders where you can try and grab the luck by its tail:
|Dunedin Casino||Christchurch Casino||SkyCity Auckland||SkyCity Hamilton||SkyCity Queenstown||SkyCity Wharf Casino|
|This land-based establishment opened its doors in 1999 and is situated in the center of Dunedin, in the Southern Cross Hotel building.||Christchurch Casino is the first online gambling venue in New Zealand and has an impressive collection of 34 tables and 500 slot machines.||Located in the Sky Tower, this SkyCity casino is by right considered one of the brightest and richest gambling venues in New Zealand.||It is a world-class entertainment center that delivers not only gambling titles but also boasts a restaurant, golf club, and much more.||SkyCity Queenstown Casino has opened in December 2000 and regularly sponsors local events and charity evenings in the city.||In 2013 SkyCity has bought the Otago Casinos Limited and added Wharf Casino to their list of gambling venues.|
If you are interested in brick and mortar gambling houses and want to know how they operate and differ from online casinos, just read our detailed land-based venues guide.
Online Casino Platforms For Kiwis
As you already know, to play online casino games from New Zealand you need to search for an offshore platform. Even though local regulations make gambling on local websites illegal, there is nothing wrong with playing slots, blackjack, roulette, baccarat, or any other game on an offshore casino.
Nowadays, more and more platforms are created specifically for New Zealand players. Here is the list of online casinos recommended for New Zealand players by CasinoHEX:
- SkyCity – This popular brand has launched the best land-based casinos in NZ and is ready to surprise locals with outstanding online gambling;
- Black Spins – This platform was created by All Blacks fans and has a similar logo and design.
This two brands focus in the first line on New Zealand players, while other international platforms listed at Casino HEX are reputable international casinos. We especially recommend to draw your attention to:
||NZ$2000 + 200 FS||Play Now Read Review||LevelUp||6437+||
||NZ$5000 + 100 FS||Play Now Read Review||7BitCasino||5470+||
Responsible Gambling Policy
When playing at an online casino, you shouldn’t forget that the main goal is fun and entertainment. However, sometimes players can’t leave the table, spend too much money, and even feel addicted to the game. That is when responsible gambling becomes crucial.
More and more casinos and gambling agencies apply such measures as betting and session duration limits, and self-exclusion features. New Zealand is not an exception and there are many organizations that help locals to gamble responsibly. They include:
- Gambling Helpline NZ – It is a free telephone helpline that provides Kiwis with immediate support related to any gambling issue. They work 24/7 and are completely anonymous;
- Choice Not Chance – It is a program created by the Health Promotion Agency to promote secure gambling and raise awareness about its possible harms;
- PGF Services – Their duty counselors answer questions and provide gambling-related support by phone, live chat, text, and email around the clock;
- Oasis Salvation Army – They provide gambling counseling support to players and their families, assist with self-exclusion, and hold workshops.
On our website, you can find a comprehensive Responsible Gambling Guide where we talk about the main principles of safe gambling and share all the necessary tips to enjoy the game safely.
FAQ About The Online Gambling Industry in New Zealand
Is it legal to gamble online in New Zealand?
- According to the Gambling Act 2003, providers are allowed to offer gambling services only if they are authorized by the government. At the moment, online gambling sites can’t obtain such a license. However, players are allowed to attend offshore online casinos.
What authorities regulate New Zealand’s gambling market?
- The NZ gambling market is regulated by the Department of Internal Affairs and the New Zealand Gambling Commission.
Whom should I contact if the website doesn’t pay out my winnings?
- You should get in touch with the gambling authority that has issued a license to this casino.
What’s the main gambling law in New Zealand?
- Gambling activities in the country are divided into four classes (from low-risk to high-risk games) and follow the Gambling Act 2003.
Can Kiwis play on international platforms?
- Yes, they can access any offshore casino without any restrictions. Thousands of websites have various online pokies for Kiwis, as well as table games, and live dealer titles.
How much Kiwis spend on gambling?
- According to statistics, Kiwis spend over $2.5 billion on gambling every year – around $650 per person in the country.
Can I use NZD in online casinos?
- Yes, many gambling sites offer NZD as a currency of choice, so you won’t have to spend extra money on conversion. On our website, you will find Kiwi-friendly casinos that accept NZD.
Should Kiwis pay any taxes when making deposits?
- No, when playing offshore, gamblers can leave all the winnings to themselves.
Is it safe and secure to gamble online?
- The main rule Kiwis should take into account is to choose a reliable and internationally licensed casino. Thus, the game will be safe and secure.
What if a person I know has problems with gambling?
- If you or a person you know are involved in compulsive gambling, don’t hesitate to contact one of the following NZ organizations: Gambling Helpline NZ, Choice Not Chance, PGF Services, or Oasis Salvation Army. They provide comprehensive anonymous help 24/7.