Citizens living in New Zealand are legally permitted to take part in many different forms of gambling, but only at venues/websites that are strictly regulated by the Department of Internal Affairs. There’s also the Gambling Commission and the Lotteries Commission. Today, New Zealanders can enjoy most forms of sports betting, as well as being able to gamble on the horses and lotteries. Players can even gamble in the real money mode at online casinos, but only at the ones that operate from offshore locations and not from within New Zealand’s borders. You can also now gamble at a handful of land-based casinos.
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Gambling History in New Zealand
Gambling activities in New Zealand are known to date back to the early 1800s and the main form of gambling back then started with horse racing. The country has also witnessed intermittent and lengthy periods of prohibition. For example, bookmaking was prohibited in the 1920s and up until 1961 only horse racing was allowed at the tracks. However, gambling activities in the country continue to grow and the market today is bigger than ever.
Parliament eventually went on to take a more liberal approach towards most forms of gambling in the 1980s by making way for lotteries and casinos and then land-based slot machines (better known as pokies in the country) became widely available at licensed establishments in 1994. With the advent of the internet and the rapidly growing online gambling industry, the next big changes in New Zealand occurred in 2003. In this year, the Gambling Act was introduced, and this prohibited all forms of gambling unless authorized by the NZ government. To this day, NZ players still don’t have access to home-grown online casinos, and so their only option is to continue playing at gambling sites that operate outside of NZ, most of which are based in Europe.
New Zealand Gambling & Online Gambling Laws
Gambling in New Zealand is now more regulated than ever before since the introduction of the 2003 Gambling Act. This banned online gambling overnight, with the exception of a small handful of tightly regulated lotteries and sports betting games. The new legislation did allow for online lotteries to operate from within New Zealand’s borders, but not online casinos. Being able to place a wager on the national lottery online has only been available since April 2008, and the only two entities that are allowed to offer real money gambling services to NZ citizens are the New Zealand Lotteries Commission and the Totalizator Agency Board (TAB).
The Gambling Act does not prohibit players from gambling at online casinos that operate from outside of the country, only at ones that operate from within the country’s borders and this means that you are NOT breaking any laws when gambling in the real money mode at these websites. It also means that the operators of such websites are also not breaking any laws for targeting New Zealand players because it’s not operating from within New Zealand and therefore doesn’t fall under New Zealand jurisdiction.
Online Casino Benefits to Players from New Zealand
Some of the best online casinos in the world are licensed in the UK, Malta and Gibraltar, and the great news is that New Zealanders can sign up to these casinos and play in the real money mode on hundreds of games without getting into any trouble. These state of the art gambling websites accept real cash wagers from New Zealanders, and they also cater to NZ players in several other different ways. For example, most of these casinos welcome a broad range of popular NZ online payment options and almost all of them accept New Zealand dollars.
Local telephone support (often toll-free) is now available at many of these casinos, as well as 24-hour live chat and email support and all of today’s best NZ online casinos support the English language. There are no taxes to pay on any of your winnings, and you can enjoy playing on hundreds of the world’s best online casino games at these websites (often provided by the likes of Microgaming, NetEnt, Playtech and other leading online casino software providers). New Zealand players can also benefit from big casino bonuses (for both new players and existing members), as well as from rewarding loyalty programs and other ongoing promotional offers and NZ players also now have access to some of the biggest online jackpots in the world.
FAQ Useful to Players from New Zealand
Can I gamble at an online casino in the real money mode?
Yes. There are several fully licensed online casinos that do not fall under the New Zealand government’s jurisdiction that currently accept real cash wagers from players living in New Zealand.
Is it breaking the law to gamble at foreign-owned gambling sites?
No. You can rest assured that you won’t get into any trouble by the New Zealand authorities for signing up to and playing in the real money mode at foreign-owned gambling sites.
Are the website safe and can I trust them?
Yes and Yes. Today’s best New Zealand online casinos are controlled by trusted operators with proven track records, and they are licensed, regulated and monitored by some of the toughest licensing authorities and online casino testing agencies in the world.
How do I deposit and withdraw at online casinos?
The cashier section at each NZ online casino provides a wide range of deposit and withdrawal methods that are popular with New Zealand players (e.g. most major credit & debit cards, as well as e-wallets, prepaid cards and several other effective methods).
What happens if I need to get in touch with the casino?
Simply contact the toll-free player support via live chat, email or telephone and they will resolve your issue or answer your questions in no time at all.
Online Gambling Highlights in New Zealand
- Players from New Zealand can now sign up to some of the world’s best online casinos for free and then claim a guaranteed new player welcome bonus upon registering
- Experience some of the most famous online casino games from many of the world’s leading online casino software providers either in the real money mode or in the free play mode
- Play on a wide range of more than 400 games either on desktop or on mobile and either from within a perfectly secure download client or instantly in your web browser
- Take advantage of some amazing casino bonuses and play to win some of the biggest online jackpots in the world
- Enjoy the comfort of being able to play in your local currency of NZ dollars and being able to deposit and withdraw using a wide range of popular NZ online payment options
- 24-hour toll-free support provided by the casino. These friendly and professionally trained player support agents can usually be reached via live chat, telephone email
Problem Gambling Help in New Zealand
One of the great resources for players in New Zealand that offer free advice about problem gambling, whether it concerns you, a friend or even a family member, is the Gambling Helpline New Zealand. There’s also the Problem Gambling Foundation of New Zealand and these non-profit organizations both provide several different means of support including addiction helplines, free counselling and even support groups.
Those who need help have access to plenty of useful material, with things like online forums and other useful pages of information. Locals can also turn to other countries around the world that also have websites and organizations that are dedicated to helping problem gamblers. GamCare and Gamble Aware in the UK are just two such organizations, plus you can also now attend Gamblers Anonymous meetings in New Zealand.