Newzealand Gambling – Law, Legality & Games

New Zealand has a big and rich history of gambling. It’s one of the most active countries in this industry, generating millions of dollars in profits and taxes. It is estimated that over 80% of New Zealanders participate in all kinds of gambling games. Some statistics even showed that people spend more than $3 million in betting and gambling per year.

Gambling-related activities in this country date back to as far as the early 1900s, but back in those days all of these gaming types were considered highly illegal. Many of those things are changed today, and we are here to discuss some of the details connected to the world of gambling, regulations, and laws. Let’s start with the most obvious question.

Is Gambling Legal in New Zealand?

Gambling in New Zealand may have been illegal at the beginning of the previous century, but it is completely legal now. The first legalization was back in 1961 when authorities made betting on horse races legal. Soon, almost all types of sports betting were allowed, and by 1980, lotteries and other casino games were legal to play as well. The very first legal casino in New Zealand was opened in 1994.

Today, 6 casinos are operating on the island: Dunedin Casino, SkyCity Auckland, SKYCITY Auckland, SKYCITY Hamilton, SKYCITY Queenstown, Christchurch Casino, and SKYCITY Wharf Casino.

Online gambling is also legal. Numerous online casinos are based in New Zealand, but the residents are free to play in numerous casino sites that are not based in the country. The only problem the players may encounter with them is that not all of them accept the NZ dollar as a currency. But, the online casinos are well-aware of the fact the New Zealanders love to gamble, which is why most of them deal with the NZ dollar.

Legal Status Games Wise

Poker

Legal to Play, illegal to Operate

Bingo

Legal to Play, illegal to Operate

Lottery

Legal, State Monopoly

Sports Betting

Legal, State Monopoly

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Gambling Types Accepted in New Zealand

New Zealanders will play any gambling type that they can get their hands on. Slot games, sports betting, table games, card games, etc. are all up for grabs. Casinos are making huge profits on them, which is a huge gain for the country since most of these facilities are state-owned.

Among the most popular games are betting on football, horse races, lottery, and the well-known pokies. Even though bookies were illegal until the 60s, the people were allowed to bet on horse on-course. But, with the introduction of the Totalizator Agency Board in 1961, all of that changed. New Zealanders are big fans of football and horse racing, and they love to wager their money on those 2 sports.

The second most popular gambling type is the lottery. The first lotteries were held in the 1930s and were known as Art Unions, but as time passed by, the sales were declining due to the low prize pools. After a huge lottery review, the Golden Kiwi lottery was introduced and later on, it was replaced with the Kiwi scratch card lottery. Lotto tickets were even made available online in 2008, and to this day the popularity doesn’t seem to decline.

The country’s so-called pokies were introduced in 1987 and they are operated by charitable foundations. This is the most popular type of gambling for people in New Zealand. There are over 20,000 pokies located across the territory of the country. Pokies are also popular in Australia.

Games at online casinos are also on the rise. Due to the many advantages that online casinos have, they are becoming more and more popular. Although you need to do a background check to see if they are legit, most of them are safe and secure to play. Accreditations and approvals are good signs of a well-established online casino.

Minimum Age for Gambling in New Zealand                        

The law in New Zealand has two age limits for gambling. The age limit for sports betting is 18, but if a person wants to enter a casino, he or she must be at least 20. Although the government fully supports gambling and considers it as a massive contributor to the economy, they still need to be mindful of its citizens and make sure that they do not develop a gambling addiction. In the last couple of years, gambling expenditures total more than NZ$3 billion per year.

Gambling Laws for Gamblers and Operators in New Zealand

The Gambling Act of 2003 deems every gambling activity illegal unless it’s authorized by the government. All of the operators are required to give a portion of the profits back to the community, which is why the law that controls the gambling operators in New Zealand is considered as one of the best and most contributing towards the people. The same Gambling Act also has The Problem Gambling Foundation of New Zealand in its lines. This foundation is built to help and support people that have developed an addiction towards gambling.

Aside from the Gambling Act of 2003, 5 other laws regulate this industry in its full form. The Racing Act 2003, Boxing and Wrestling Act 1981, Gambling Amendment 2005 and 2015, and the Gambling Amendment Act (No2) 2015. Casino fees are paid on an annual basis, and every facility needs licenses to be able to operate legally. The people have no fees and taxes on most of their winnings.

The one catchy thing to remember is that New Zealand’s government doesn’t have any jurisdiction for any online casino that is based overseas. That means that players visit these sites at their responsibility and there are other organizations that the player must reach out to in case of a problem.

Gambling Commissions for New Zealand

Three commissions regulate the process of gambling in New Zealand. The Gambling Commission oversees the whole general work. It considers every application for a license and it’s in charge of renewal of the already existing licenses. The Gambling Commission also approves agreements between casinos, advises the Ministry, specifies which licenses should be revoked, and considers and deals with complaints.

The Ministry of Health funds and coordinates problem gambling services. The Department of Internal Affairs administrates gambling legislation, provides public education, ensure compliance with the legislation, and licenses gambling activities.

Gambling Games Legal Status in New Zealand:

Poker: – Poker is legal in New Zealand, and poker can be played in licensed casinos, private games, and Class 1, 2, or 3 games.

Online Poker is illegal in New Zealand. No online poker licenses are issued but not illegal to play on International sites.

Bingo: – Bingo, also called housie in New Zealand and Australia it is legal and trendy. If the specified amount of the prize does not exceed $ 500 and $ 5000, bingo can be held as a Class 1 or Class 2 game without a license.

Lottery: – Lottery is legal in New Zealand. Only class 3 games (over $5000) need a license to Operate Lotteries in New Zealand.

Online Lotteries are illegal in New Zealand but not illegal to play on International sites.

Sports Betting: – Sports Betting is legal and handed over state-run betting operator to offer horse race betting, and sports betting also includes cricket, football and many more not illegal to play on International sites.