Is it legal to gamble in New Zealand?

Gambling has been a prevalent form of entertainment in New Zealand for a considerable period. This is due to the diverse range of options available such as casinos, sports betting, and online gambling. As a result, there’s something for everyone who enjoys gambling.

However, it’s crucial to understand the legal framework surrounding gambling in New Zealand. This article aims to delve into the various types of gambling that are permissible, restricted or prohibited altogether, as well as the regulatory authorities responsible for overseeing the industry.

Understanding gambling laws in New Zealand

Gambling in New Zealand is regulated by the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) to ensure that all gambling activities in the country are conducted legally and responsibly. The Gambling Act 2003 is the main legislation governing gambling in New Zealand, which outlines the rules and regulations for various types of gambling. 

All gambling activities in New Zealand must be licensed and regulated under this act, and the DIA is responsible for monitoring compliance and issuing gambling licenses. The Act also specifies the penalties for individuals and businesses that violate the rules. 

These penalties can range from fines and imprisonment to the forfeiture of gambling equipment and assets.

The history of gambling in New Zealand

Gambling has a rich and captivating history in New Zealand that can be traced back to the early days of European settlement. During the 1830s, lotteries were utilized to amass funds for public works like constructing roads and bridges. 

However, it wasn’t until the 20th century when gambling took off in New Zealand with the introduction of horse racing and various sports betting forms. The gambling sector in New Zealand has continued to expand, with the introduction of casinos, pokie machines, and online gambling. 

Presently, gambling is a major industry in New Zealand, generating millions of dollars in revenue each year.

Types of legal gambling in New Zealand

In New Zealand, there are various forms of gambling that are permissible by law. These forms include casinos, pokie machines, sports betting, and lotteries. The six casinos operating in New Zealand are regulated and licensed by the DIA, and they provide a variety of games such as blackjack, roulette, and pokies. 

Pokie machines, also known as electronic gaming machines (EGMs), are also legal in New Zealand, but they are highly controlled. There are clear regulations around the number and location of machines, as well as the maximum amount that can be wagered and won. 

Sports betting is another legal form of gambling in New Zealand, with the New Zealand Racing Board (NZRB) being one of the numerous providers. The NZRB offers betting on various sports, including horse racing, football, and rugby. 

Lotteries are also legal in New Zealand and are run by the New Zealand Lotteries Commission, with Lotto being the most popular game. Lotto offers the opportunity to win millions of dollars in prize money.

Online gambling laws in New Zealand

Online gambling is permitted in New Zealand but with the condition that the website offering such services should not be based within the country’s boundaries. This implies that businesses operating in New Zealand cannot provide online gambling services to the residents of the country.

According to No-Verification.Casino and their guide for NZ casinos without verification (you can find here –, many offshore gambling websites are available to New Zealanders, and the DIA is responsible for monitoring and enforcing compliance with the law.

Problem gambling and responsible gambling in New Zealand

Gambling is a popular activity in New Zealand, but it also comes with concerns related to problem gambling and its negative effects on individuals and families. To address these issues, the DIA has introduced several initiatives that aim to promote responsible gambling and minimize the harm caused by problem gambling. 

Such initiatives include free counselling services for individuals affected by problem gambling and their families, as well as self-exclusion programs that allow individuals to exclude themselves from gambling venues and websites voluntarily.

The future of gambling laws in New Zealand

As the gambling industry progresses, it is probable that the policies and regulations governing gambling in New Zealand will undergo modifications. One such modification could be stricter regulations regarding online gambling, along with the implementation of a limit on the number of pokie machines permitted in the country.

How to stay safe while gambling in New Zealand

If you decide to participate in gambling activities in New Zealand, it is crucial to prioritize responsible and safe behavior. This entails establishing boundaries on your gambling expenditures and time commitments, as well as seeking assistance if you notice that your gambling habits are becoming concerning.

Gambling resources and support in New Zealand

If you or someone you know is struggling with problem gambling, there are a range of resources and support services available in New Zealand. These include:

The Gambling Helpline

The Gambling Helpline is a free, confidential service that provides information, advice, and support to people affected by problem gambling. The helpline is available 24/7 and can be reached by phone, email, or live chat.

The Salvation Army Oasis Centre

The Salvation Army Oasis Centre provides free counselling and support services to people affected by problem gambling. The centre also offers support to families and friends of problem gamblers.

The Department of Internal Affairs

The Department of Internal Affairs is responsible for regulating the gambling industry in New Zealand and provides information and resources on responsible gambling and problem gambling.

Final words

To sum up, gambling is permitted in New Zealand within certain limits and guidelines. The Department of Internal Affairs is in charge of regulating the industry and making sure that all gambling operations in the country comply with the law and are done in a responsible manner. 

Despite worries about problem gambling, there are several resources and assistance programs accessible to support those who have been impacted. Therefore, whether you are an experienced gambler or merely interested in the legality of gambling in New Zealand, it is critical to stay knowledgeable and gamble in a responsible manner.


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