Legal Status of Online Gambling in New Zealand

Legal Status of Online Gambling in New Zealand

Although New Zealand’s online gambling market is much smaller compared to the Australian casino industry or the huge US gaming scene, there is considerable casino activity within the country’s borders. A massive gambling passion very similar to the UK dominates the South Pacific island nation with estimated going into more than 2 billion New Zealand dollars, and there are regulatory and legal certainties provided for the industry’s prosperity and stability.  

There is a diverse and lengthy tradition associated with gambling practices in New Zealand, with laws dating back to the early 19th century. The government of New Zealand all but banned gambling until the restrictive gambling act of 1908 that didn’t permit horse race and other sports betting. During the early 20th century, these restrictions on betting options until 1961 when the New Zealand government legalized casino establishments, lotteries and pokies.

The Gambling Act of 2003, which stipulates what’s legal and illegal in New Zealand’s sports betting and gambling environment, operates under the Department of Internal Affairs. This regulator, coupled with powers of jurisdiction allocated to the Totalisator Agency Board and the New Zealand Racing Board, handles matters security, standards, fairness, proper function ad licensing of all gambling establishments in the country.

An industry watchdog, the Gambling Compliance group, oversees the application, proper provision and execution of the Gambling Act of 2003 parameters by the casino operators and regulatory bodies.

Current State of New Zealand’s Online Gambling Industry

As of now, the legal regulations that apply to gambling and online casino entertainment in New Zealand is clearly defined, with the 2003 act proclaiming that operators can offer land-based casino and non-gambling services. The rights, obligations and compliances are clear cut and distinctive for land-based operators, while a player-oriented and straightforward online casino regulation exists.

The gambling act makes a separated reference for online gambling of 2003 defining remote casino services as either home-based or offshore. According to this Kiwi law, when a casino site is licensed and based in New Zealand are illegal and punitive, with the exception of sports bookmaking. These home-based national online gambling platforms are invalidated to offer services to locals in the country, leaving the offshore operators such as casinos, bookmakers, lottery providers and bingo portals as the legal options for New Zealand punters.

The key considerations and guidelines for players engaging in online casino gambling in New Zealand include; 

  • Licensing and Certification

The online casino platforms accessible to new Zealanders are by default offshore-based and regulated by either international law or the legislation of their home countries.

  • Gameplay

Since all of the online casino service pool is foreign, New Zealand players have to rely on the 2003 Acts regulations when accessing top gambling platforms and online casino websites.

  • Money Deposits and Currency Options

The vibrancy of online casino bookmakers and their abilities to award real money prizes has appealed to Kiwi punters who enjoy paying with NZ dollars. This saves time and costs associated with having to change currencies for deposits and withdrawals from the offshore casino platforms.

Under the gambling act of 2003, certain forms of prohibitions are effective for remote interactive gambling, advertising overseas gaming, prize awarding from the prohibited service provisions. There are four classes defined under this law, which denote the allowable specifications for prizes, turnover, operations and licenses. 

1. Class One Gambling

The prize turnover for class one gambling cannot exceed 757 New Zealand dollars, and this form can be operated by individuals. Proceeds from this class’s operations including interest must also be applied to the winners

2. Class Two Gambling

Prizes that total between $NZ 757 and $NZ 7,500 are classified as class two with potential turnovers that cannot exceed 37,800 New Zealand dollars. As opposed to class one gambling, class two can only be conducted by societies defined under the 2003 act and does not require an operating license.

3. Classes Three and Four 

Prizes that exceed 7,576 New Zealand dollars are characteristic of class three gambling, while class four refers to operations that use gaming machines. Both class three and four gambling requires licenses from the New Zealand Lotteries Commission.