New Zealand casino law

Everything You Need to Know about New Zealand’s Casino Law

New Zealand, like most other countries, has a long history of gambling legislation, policies and laws which have been imposed on the casino industry over the years. Below you’ll find a guide, filled with all the important and relevant information that players from New Zealand should familiarise themselves with.

History of Gambling in New Zealand

The gambling and casino industry has certainly come a long way since it first established its place on our shores with the arrival of European settlers during the mid-1600s. During the nineteenth century, it was common place for Kiwis to place wagers on the outcome of card games and athletic matches, with betting on horse racing being a particular favourite pastime. During the 1830’s, betting on horse racing become one of the nation’s most popular leisure activities despite the fact that any form of gambling was largely considered illegal.

Gambling was only considered legal at races, a provision set down by the Gambling Act of 1908. From then until 1961 when the Totalizator Agency Board (TAB) was formalised and introduced, betting on horse racing was exclusively done at racetracks.

As a result of the all the hype and acclaim that stemmed from gambling on horse racing, the first versions of national lotteries started popping up in 1933. These national lotteries were known as “Art Unions” and prizes were relatively small. These “Art Union” lotteries ran their course and with sales in steady decline, the national government introduced the Golden Kiwi lottery as a replacement in 1961.

In 1987 the New Zealand Lotteries Commission was established which saw the launch of their original product, Lotto. Since then large numbers of scratch cards, daily keno and lotto tickets have been sold to the New Zealand public.

Gambling Act of 2003

In New Zealand, all casino and non-casino gambling services are controlled by the Department of Internal Affairs. The primary aim is to keep gambling in New Zealand honest and fair, ensure that the greater community benefits from the proceeds of gambling, as well as preventing and minimising the risk of problem gambling. The Gambling Act of 2003 is the main piece of legislation that regulates gambling in New Zealand.

New Zealand Regulatory Agencies

There are several regulatory agencies within New Zealand who are tasked with upholding different aspects of the legislation. The Department of Internal Affairs (administers legislation and ensures compliance), the Department of Health (funds and coordinates problem gambling and harm reduction services and campaigns) and the Gambling Commission (considers and determines the outcomes of casino-operator’s licences and renewals) are the main regulatory bodies overseeing the industry. The Totalizator Agency Board (TAB) is the oversight sports betting authority that is controlled by the New Zealand Racing Board.

These agencies work in conjunction with each other to ensure fairness and integrity within the New Zealand gambling industry. With this approach, the opportunity for crime and dishonesty that is sometimes unfortunately associated with the industry is minimised.

Legal Status of Online Gambling in New Zealand

Today you’ll find that a growing number of Kiwis prefer to go online when gambling. That begs the question…is online gambling legal?

There is currently no law prohibiting New Zealand residents from participating in gambling on the internet, provided that the online casino or sports betting site that they’re on is operated and licenced abroad.

Taxation of Winnings

Any winnings that Kiwis claim will not be taxed by Inland Revenue as most forms of gambling are viewed as a recreational pursuit or hobby.

Robyn Barnes