Gambling Laws and Regulations in New Zealand

Gambling Laws and Regulations in New Zealand

Nowadays online gambling has become one of the most popular way to play and win. There are multiple online casinos available for users all over the world. But when we speak about gambling safety is very important. All government implement a set of gambling regulations and legislation. And when you decide to start using this activity as a pass-time, it would be good first to read up about the country laws.

This article is providing some information about New Zealand online gambling laws and regulations. It informs what enthusiasts need for safe and relaxing gameplay.


Gambling for New Zealanders is not a regular free time activity, it is a big and favorite hobby


In some countries gambling is completely illegal and forbidden to be operated. In other countries, when it comes to online gambling people gamble, even it is considered illegal. Compared with most other countries New Zealand seems to be open-minded. Regarding any kinds of gambling the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Gambling Compliance Group of New Zealand do their best to ensure the safest and most secure conditions for the players. 


History of Gambling Legislation

According to the Gambling Act from 1908 gambling in New Zealand was illegal. Except Horse Racing betting, any form of gambling was considered as forbidden. Players who wanted to bet on horse racing were only allowed to do it directly from the race course. 

In 1961 the Totalisator Agency Board (TAB) was established and this turned things around. Gambling activities such as lottery became legal. Land-based casinos received the permission to operate legally and players were provided with the best casino games, for example Blackjack and Roulette. After that online slots or Pokies became available in clubs, pubs, hotels, gambling halls, poker rooms and casinos in New Zealand. 

The Department of Internal Affairs regulates all laws connected with gambling in New Zealamd. They ensure that all casino operators work legally and have valid casino license. Their control is focused on the fact that casinos act fairly and responsibly. The aim of this control is to make players to practice responsible gambling.


The Act of Gambling from 2003

The Gambling Act 2003 performs control over all legality of gambling activities in New Zealand. According to the Act there are 4 forms of legal betting. Online gambling is stated as a “ewmote interactive gambling”. From this definition it seems online casinos in New Zealand are not legal. But referring to residents who participate in online casino gaming from websites in other countries, cannot be considered as illegal.

In the last few years the Gambling Act has been amended twice. The first amendment was in 2005 and the second in 2015. None of these amendments introduced any clarification about online gambling.


Three important facts about Gambling Laws in NZ

  1. Players don't have any liability – You cannot read in the regulations that players are forbidden to take part in online gambling at foreign sites. Written with other words – residents in New Zealand won't be prosecuted for being users of overseas online casinos.
  2. There is control on Online sports betting – The Racing Board of New Zealand provides racing and sports betting services and also controls any online sports betting in the country. Regarding the international online sportsbooks some loophole can be seen. Users of international sites for sports betting shouldn't worry as they will not be prosecuted for illegal play. 
  3. Poker and the grey sector – To play online poker is quite similar to play online casinos. According to the law it is not illegal and players will not be prohibited for playing at international online poker rooms.


Gambling Winnings Taxation

In well developed countries all types of activities and businesses, including operators of online casino sites and owners of land-based casinos have to pay taxes. In general operators and business  owners pay tax on their gross revenue, Actually for gambling individuals the tax situation is not very clear. 

The situation with taxation of gambling winnings remains confusing as well. In New Zealand in most cases gambling winners won't be asked to pay tax, as gambling activities are considered as recreational ones and not a means of income. At the same time there are some cases that tax has to be paid – it is when a player is acting with the intent to produce income.


Legal or illegal is gambling in New Zealand?

To participate in online gambling from any international online casino site is completely legal. From the other hand it is illegal for companies and residents to provide in-play betting or casino games like poker, bingo and pokies. The lottery and sports betting through TAB are considered as legal.  

Once again, gambling online is absolutely legal activity in New Zealand. The only illegal activity referring to online gambling is advertising. So, you can play at online casinos, but be sure that the site is quire fair and secure. For this our recommendation is first to have a look at our list of top international online casinos. This is the best way to be sure that you will get the best online casino experience.   

Edward Griffin


Edward Griffin

Hey I'm Edward Griffin, one of the people behind I have been living, playing and working in the online casino world for the past 15 years. I am here to help you make the most informed decisions for your online casino experience.

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