Online Casino and Gambling in New Zealand
Gambling in New Zealand goes back to the first bookmakers in the early 1900s, which was followed by the first set of national lottery games being offered in 1933. In terms of casino gaming, Christchurch opened the first land-based casino in 1994 and soon after that the online gambling era began and swiftly took over.
It wasn’t until 2003 though that the New Zealand Gambling Act became official and allowed all New Zealanders the freedom to enjoy the entertainment of online casinos based overseas, without any risk of legal action. It’s only the online operators and gaming providers that need to abide by the regulations laid out in the Gambling Act of 2003. We will look into the Act in more detail shortly and uncover the real reasons as to why it was created in the first place. Before we do that though, we will run you through a list of the top casinos currently available to the New Zealand public.
New Zealanders have a vast range of casinos to choose from and this allows them to claim the best welcome bonuses and promotions available in the industry. Along with all of the latest games from the top software providers in the world and not to mention complete access to the new era of live dealer gaming. We’ve taken the time to analyse the best sites and find the most valuable casinos that are currently accepting New Zealand players. Take a look at the table below to find our top casino choices and you’ll be guaranteed a safe and secure gaming environment at each and every one in the list:
Best Casinos New Zealand
The New Zealand Gambling Act Of 2003
The Gambling Act of 2003 was set up to replace the two previous outdated gaming acts, the Gaming and Lotteries Act 1977 and the Casino Control Act 1990. Modern technology and new online casino gaming services required a new set of rules to make this new era of gambling more understandable to the players and the operators involved. Once the Act was made official, New Zealanders would be better protected from casinos with fraudulent intentions, therefore creating a safer and more secure online environment in which to enjoy their online gaming.
One major note to take away here is that New Zealand does not own its own gambling commission. This means that you will never find a casino “licensed by New Zealand authorities”, and any casino or gaming site that says so is most likely a casino to avoid. This lack of national gambling commission goes hand in hand with the Gambling Act of 2003 and the clear statement that players can only gamble at foreign online casinos. All of the top casinos are licensed via the European gambling authorities such as Malta, Gibraltar, Alderney, and the UK. This means that New Zealand players are free to enjoy the games, bonuses, promotions, and all of the gambling features provided by casinos who have been approved by those mentioned authorities.
The rules and regulations in place in New Zealand are a lot more defined than those set out in their Australian neighbours. Even with the recent changes and amendments to the Australian Gambling Act in 2017, the lines are still blurred and players still don’t fully understand the official rules, the same goes for the operators with many huge names pulling out of Australia all together. There is none of the confusion surrounding who can play where and if anyone is actually committing an illegal offence by playing real money games online. It’s clear and straight to the point... New Zealand players can bet for real money at foreign online casinos who are licensed and approved by an official gambling commission.
Gambling Act 2003 - Facts
1- Players face no liability when it comes to playing at international online casinos. It is neither illegal nor prohibited for a New Zealander to register and play for real money at any online gaming site. They are free to play as they wish and face no form of legal action from their online gaming hobbies.
2 - Any winnings won from international casinos will not be taxed. This is based on the fact that online gambling is considered to be a pastime and hobby rather than a profession, and so any profits that are generated from the sites will not be seen as taxable income.
3 - In regards to online sports betting, this particular online activity is fully controlled by the New Zealand Racing Board, who is the name behind the national racing and sports betting service, TAB. Currently, international sports betting sites are classed the same as international casino sites and so New Zealanders are in fact allowed to use these foreign sites for their sports bets as well.
4 - If you’re a poker fan then the laws are are viewed as the same as online casino and sportsbook sites. There is no restriction on where you can play your poker games, as long as the foreign sites accept your banking details then you are free to play at any site you wish.
The Future of Online Gambling in New Zealand
The clarity of the gambling laws in New Zealand has no doubt led to the huge increase in players actually betting and playing online for real money. With more and more casinos appearing every year, there are more and more promotions and welcome bonuses to claim. Over the last two years, New Zealanders spent over $380 million at foreign online casinos and betting sites. This has prompted the national government to look into the laws to ensure that this rapid increase in online gambling within the population does not get out of hand. However, there are initial concerns over the discussions that the government is looking out for their economy first and the people second. They have proposed a handful of options to amend the existing Gambling Act of 2003, which we will outline below.
First up is the idea to allow more online gambling products such as casino sites within the country, along with the existing Lotto and TAB gaming providers. The second option is to allow new gaming providers into the local market to allow local players to find their sites easier, this takes the risk of players having to search through google to find the best casinos to play at. The third option involves creating an official New Zealand gambling license who the international operators must apply through, thus creating more competition and better value for the New Zealand players.
At the current time, players are required to search through the hundreds of online casinos to find a suitable site offering good value promotions and bonuses. Creating an official New Zealand gambling commission like Malta, Gibraltar, and the UK commission would certainly generate more value for players, with casino and sportsbook sites focusing more attention on creating local bonuses and promotions. This can only be seen as a positive move for the country but it’s just a case of whether the government is willing to put the time and effort into setting it all up.