Millions of adults globally enjoy gambling online and offline, and it is also a very complex topic for specific legislative statutes.
The complexity in defining what is legal makes the laws that regulate gambling online vary tremendously from country to country.
Thats why we took the time to make this guide where we go throw how online gambling is regulated in New Zealand and and the organizations that exist to protect us players.
If you have any questions about how online gambling works, you can quickly find a lot of answers in our faq section, read more about gambling licences or the game providers that creates the games online.
Also here is a few other reading tip that you might find useful before we dig in.
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History of gambling in NZ
The Gambling Act of 1908 was enacted in the country and made all gambling activities illegal excluding betting at the horse track.
In 1920, the NZ parliament outlawed bookmaking and deemed horse racing illegal up until 1960, when it was ruled legal, but only on the horse track.
In 1977 the Gaming and Lotteries Act was passed in NZ, followed by the Casino Act of 1990. After the Casino Act, the NZ government approved the use of slot machines.
Slot machines, or as they are known in NZ Pokies was legal; this led to the first casino to open in 1994.
Gambling act 2003
The New Zealand casino act was enacted, which is an update or replacement of the 2003 statute that combines all gambling activities under one universally settled law.
The bill was initially introduced in February 2002 in NZ. In 2005 the Gambling Amendment Act was introduced in NZ, which was initiated to enhance and add the provision to the 2003 Gambling Act.
The 2003 Gambling Act deemed all gambling illegal unless the government runs it. There are four defined gambling classes in NZ, and they are all regulated separately and require a license for each.
NZ Class one, two and three define regulation on prize, rules and generally governs funding generated by the gambling activity, and turnover amounts allowed.
Class 4 defines control on gambling machines outside of casinos. The Act of 2015 was enacted to clarify wording and interpretation of the original bill to ensure the citizens remain protected from the potential adverse effects of gambling.
Gambling laws in present
Today gambling laws today are defined as age restrictions depending on the activity or type of gambling.
Individuals must be 20 years or older to enter a casino legally and 18 years or older to bet on sports, lottery tickets or scratch-offs.
Today it is only legal for Kiwis to gamble at casinos and illegal to do any remote gambling, this includes online gaming.
However, it is unlawful to bet remotely if the hosted gambling site is in NZ.
The overall point of the Act is to ensure proceeds from gambling activities are used to benefit the community of the country.
WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES AND ROLE OF GAMBLING LAWS IN NZ?
Gambling can potentially be a severe problem, so gambling laws are formulated to protect and initiate protections for the community.
The rules are designed to control the growth of gambling in the country by creating an environment to ensures fairness and minimize the damages or threats to the NZ citizens often associated with gambling.
The laws also set out to:
- Regulate and limit illegal activity related to gaming
- Encourage the involvement and participation from the NZ community in the regulation of gambling
- Oversee and define what gambling activities are legal and unlawful
Gambling Commission New Zealand
As part of NZ’s Gambling Act 2003, the gambling commission was established.
The Commission is the authorizing body that has the authority to approve gambling applications, and generally all things related to gambling in the country.
Other Commission authorities include but are not limited to appeals by organizations on the various Gambling Class interpretation and enforcement, curb setting of gambling levies as interpreted by the Advising Ministers.
The NZ Commission also has the power to define its procedures in the understanding of the Act 2003.
GAMBLING LAWS AND ONLINE GAMBLING
According to Act 2003, online gambling is only legal if the government fully regulates it.
The law also dictates that any resident that is of the legal age can legally gamble online if the online gaming hosting is located outside of the country (overseas).
This regulation applies to online sports betting and online poker games.
IS IT LEGAL IN NZ TO GAMBLE AT ONLINE CASINOS?
Yes, it is 100% legal to bet online in NZ, if the online casino is based outside the country.
This move by the government frees the land from liability associated with online gambling activities.
This regulation applies to any online gambling including but not limited to sports betting, poker and other card games, and online casinos.
How are players protected?
Being that online gambling is legal only if the hosting of the site is outside of the jurisdiction of NZ, Kiwis are still very much protected by the law.
The protection is assured to the player, as the explicit and strict rules govern all online casino operators.
The security of the online player is in the form of the license of the hosting party is enforced by a regulator.
The licensing regulator is there to review any issues occurring regarding unfairness or damages to the online gambler.
The online casino operator may risk gambling license suspension indefinitely and possibly future lawsuits.
Players should always play for fun and play responsibly because there is no law that can protect players if they don’t play responsibly.
Gambling statistics NZ
How much does each kiwi spend on gambling on average? Each year, every Kiwi spends an average of $ 648.
Question Answer Which products are played the most? Pokies How much do Kiwis play for in total per year? $2.38b When did New Zealand get its very first slot machine? 1980 Are there any gambling addicts in New Zealand? NZ has a score of 0,2% which is the lowest in the world, so no! How much do Kiwis spend on offshore casinos each year? $300 million How old is the average player from New Zealand? 37 years old How many of the players are women? 48% This statistic is from 2021
Gambling around the world
The most important thing when it comes to online gambling is your safety and security as a player. The second thing is the gambling laws in certain countries that operators must fallow.
But in most cases, the majority of an online gambling legislation is focused on companies that run these platforms i:e the operator, and not the players.
So in most cases, you will not break any law if you gamble online since the law is only effecting the operator.
But the most important factor when it comes to online gambling is the security measures and reputation of the selected online gambling site. So how to recognize licensed and regulated gambling sites?
Regulated sites do have a logo of the regulatory bodies and a license number in the footer of their website. In addition to this, there is a company name and the address of the headquarters.
If the gambling sites do not have this info, you should avoid it. But most sites are licensed and regulated with at least one jurisdiction. To get this license gambling sites must meet specific criteria in the field of security, safety and fair play.
To make it easier to understand, we have created a list with the worlds most known licensing authorities.
Jusrisdiction Score Reliability Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) 9,9/10 High Alderney Gambling Controll Comisssion 9,8/10 High Gambling commission (UKGC) 9,8/10 High Curaçao Interactive Licensing (CIL) 5,0/10 Low Swedish gambling authority (SGA) 9,6/10 Average Danish gambling authority 8,8/10 Average Gibraltar Licensing Authority (GBGA) 5,0/10 Low Learn more about online gambling licenses
Frequently asked questions
Is it legal to gamble online in NZ?
Yes! It is legal to gamble at casinos that are based outside of New Zealand.
Is online gambling safe for Kiwis?
Yes! While online is gambling is restricted overseas as the hosting, there are still the same protections in place to govern and protect the citizens.
What is Class two and three gambling?
Gambling not involving commissions paid to the house, or the person conducting the game.
How is private gambling regulated?
While the Gambling Act does not explicitly apply to private gambling in NZ, there are still stipulations spelled out in the Gambling Act, that governs and regulates it.
- Gamblinglaw.co.nz research Pdf