Online gambling – Where its legislation stands in New Zealand?

Playing games of chance, betting on sports and horse races has been part of the life of New Zealand citizens for a long time. From the early 20th century, there very several periods of regulations and prohibitions, and with the online casino’s appearance, new laws had to be enacted in order to ensure that the players know what they are doing is legal or not.

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Disclaimer: the following article is an overview of gambling regulations and rules. You cannot consider it as legal advice, and since we are not lawyers, you cannot take it for granted. We will try to keep our guide up to date, but for recent changes, or local regulations, seek your local government officers.

Short overview of the history of Gambling in New Zealand

legal gambling New ZealandBack in the early 1800s, the kiwis had been into betting on horse racing. This kind of gambling is the first documented gambling in New Zealand, however, it’s quite sure that they played cards, craps, and other games too, only it wasn’t official. In fact, horse racing was so popular, that a New Zealander, called George Julius invented the “tote board”, the machine which shows the gamblers what position the horses are in. This machine was invented back in 1913.

Quite interestingly, seven years later, in 1920, the government prohibit bookmaking and betting on horse races. This law was in effect for over 40 years, and placing bets on horse races on the track became legal in 1961. Other casino games (and casinos themselves) were regulated in the eighties – well, they were approved by the New Zealand Parliament. The first casinos in New Zealand opened in 1994.
With the online gambling becoming more and more popular, the New Zealand government had to take steps in order to get it under control. With the Gambling Act, enacted in 2003, the government literally took control of gambling: the law says, unless it’s approved and authorized by the NZ government, any type of gambling is prohibited. This Act introduced four classes of gambling, and each of these requires a separate license. Also, the Gambling Act 2003 set up the age restriction: to participate in gambling at a casino, one has to be at least 20 years old, while to bet on sports, play lotteries or scratch cards, one has to be only at least 18 years old.

As far as online gambling is concerned, the law is quite clear: as long as a casino is not operated from New Zealand, it can legally offer real-money casino games for kiwis. Luckily, the best online casinos are all overseas casinos, licensed in Malta, Gibraltar, with the Kahnawake Gaming Commission, or in the UK. However, online casinos cannot promote their services in New Zealand media. That’s why sites like our review pages are important, so the players can learn everything they need to find the best kiwi-friendly online casinos. Let us say again: online casinos are legal to play at if they are not based in New Zealand!

In New Zealand, the Department of Internal Affairs oversees the Gambling Commission, which is the decision-making body, responsible for handling casino license, specifying the conditions regarding application for licenses, and this body has to approve the casino operators’ and license holders’ agreements.

Regarding the winnings made from casinos: you don’t have to pay taxes after the winnings, so it’s a quite handsome option for gaining a second income. However, if you are playing at an online casino for a living (e.g. you don’t have a job, and gambling is your primary source of income), you have to pay the taxes. For details, seek out your local tax office to find out the rate of taxes you have to pay. However, since most New Zealand gamblers play casino games for trying their luck and earn some extra, you probably don’t have to pay taxes either.

Online casino security

When it comes to online gambling, the most important issue a player thinks of is the security of the account and of the money. Though the top online casinos are licensed elsewhere, there is nothing to worry about. The Maltese government, for example, is one of the strictest gambling authorities, and the casino operators and casino software vendors are all watched closely. You are going to see that in many cases, the online casinos earn different certificates, which come from independent auditors. For example, the best and most trustworthy online casinos have an eCogra certificates, which shows that the casino underwent inspection and the game return to player ratios are public. As you will see, in most cases, the RTP is about 90-98%.

To ensure the fair play, the casinos use only regulated developers’ and casino software vendors’ software. Companies like Microgaming grant unbiased gambling options, based on a random number generator, which is on a secure, sealed server.

Money transactions are all performed via a safe channel. Since online casinos are legally operating, they can accept several payment methods, such as cards, web-wallets, and different pre-paid solutions. The secured and encrypted channel ensures that your money and your information isn’t going into wrong hands. If you experience something suspicious, you can get in touch with the casino, the payment processor, and the company which handles the money. (In most cases, you don’t pay directly to the casino).

Bottom line on the legal stature of gambling in New Zealand

This is a short guide, and though we are not lawyers, fortunately, the law is clear in this matter. Online gambling in New Zealand is legal, and as long as the casino has a Maltese, Gibraltarian or other license it’s a legit operation. As a New Zealand player, you have only two responsibilities: play responsibly, and if you need, pay the taxes. Also, you have to take gambling serious: play the games you like, and only play as long as it’s fun. Play responsibly, be clever, and if you find a “holy grail” strategy, test it first.

Disclaimer: the following article is an overview of gambling regulations and rules. You cannot consider it as legal advice, and since we are not lawyers, you cannot take it for granted. We will try to keep our guide up to date, but for recent changes, or local regulations, seek your local government officers.

Short overview of the history of Gambling in New Zealand

legal gambling New ZealandBack in the early 1800s, the kiwis had been into betting on horse racing. This kind of gambling is the first documented gambling in New Zealand, however, it’s quite sure that they played cards, craps, and other games too, only it wasn’t official. In fact, horse racing was so popular, that a New Zealander, called George Julius invented the “tote board”, the machine which shows the gamblers what position the horses are in. This machine was invented back in 1913.

Quite interestingly, seven years later, in 1920, the government prohibit bookmaking and betting on horse races. This law was in effect for over 40 years, and placing bets on horse races on the track became legal in 1961. Other casino games (and casinos themselves) were regulated in the eighties – well, they were approved by the New Zealand Parliament. The first casinos in New Zealand opened in 1994.
With the online gambling becoming more and more popular, the New Zealand government had to take steps in order to get it under control. With the Gambling Act, enacted in 2003, the government literally took control of gambling: the law says, unless it’s approved and authorized by the NZ government, any type of gambling is prohibited. This Act introduced four classes of gambling, and each of these requires a separate license. Also, the Gambling Act 2003 set up the age restriction: to participate in gambling at a casino, one has to be at least 20 years old, while to bet on sports, play lotteries or scratch cards, one has to be only at least 18 years old.

As far as online gambling is concerned, the law is quite clear: as long as a casino is not operated from New Zealand, it can legally offer real-money casino games for kiwis. Luckily, the best online casinos are all overseas casinos, licensed in Malta, Gibraltar, with the Kahnawake Gaming Commission, or in the UK. However, online casinos cannot promote their services in New Zealand media. That’s why sites like our review pages are important, so the players can learn everything they need to find the best kiwi-friendly online casinos. Let us say again: online casinos are legal to play at if they are not based in New Zealand!

In New Zealand, the Department of Internal Affairs oversees the Gambling Commission, which is the decision-making body, responsible for handling casino license, specifying the conditions regarding application for licenses, and this body has to approve the casino operators’ and license holders’ agreements.

Regarding the winnings made from casinos: you don’t have to pay taxes after the winnings, so it’s a quite handsome option for gaining a second income. However, if you are playing at an online casino for a living (e.g. you don’t have a job, and gambling is your primary source of income), you have to pay the taxes. For details, seek out your local tax office to find out the rate of taxes you have to pay. However, since most New Zealand gamblers play casino games for trying their luck and earn some extra, you probably don’t have to pay taxes either.

Online casino security

When it comes to online gambling, the most important issue a player thinks of is the security of the account and of the money. Though the top online casinos are licensed elsewhere, there is nothing to worry about. The Maltese government, for example, is one of the strictest gambling authorities, and the casino operators and casino software vendors are all watched closely. You are going to see that in many cases, the online casinos earn different certificates, which come from independent auditors. For example, the best and most trustworthy online casinos have an eCogra certificates, which shows that the casino underwent inspection and the game return to player ratios are public. As you will see, in most cases, the RTP is about 90-98%.

To ensure the fair play, the casinos use only regulated developers’ and casino software vendors’ software. Companies like Microgaming grant unbiased gambling options, based on a random number generator, which is on a secure, sealed server.

Money transactions are all performed via a safe channel. Since online casinos are legally operating, they can accept several payment methods, such as cards, web-wallets, and different pre-paid solutions. The secured and encrypted channel ensures that your money and your information isn’t going into wrong hands. If you experience something suspicious, you can get in touch with the casino, the payment processor, and the company which handles the money. (In most cases, you don’t pay directly to the casino).

Bottom line on the legal stature of gambling in New Zealand

This is a short guide, and though we are not lawyers, fortunately, the law is clear in this matter. Online gambling in New Zealand is legal, and as long as the casino has a Maltese, Gibraltarian or other license it’s a legit operation. As a New Zealand player, you have only two responsibilities: play responsibly, and if you need, pay the taxes. Also, you have to take gambling serious: play the games you like, and only play as long as it’s fun. Play responsibly, be clever, and if you find a “holy grail” strategy, test it first.