Online Gambling in New Zealand: Regulation and Gambling Laws

Published 8:48 am Tuesday, February 28, 2023

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New Zealand has a big and active gambling community. A lot of adults there play the lottery, bet on sports, or play pokies. Online gambling in New Zealand is also very popular, but you’d be surprised to hear that it’s not a big part of the local economy. In fact, there aren’t really domestic online casino sites in NZ, so kiwis play in offshore real money casinos. Here we are going to take an in-depth look at how gambling in New Zealand is regulated and discuss if laws are going to change.

The Current State of Online Gambling in NZ

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According to the law remote gambling is illegal, but you can still play on an online casino that is based overseas. Of course, this can be dangerous since NZ consumer protection laws won’t apply to you. Users usually search for reputable sites through online reviews. You can find more online casino reviews on and get a detailed overview of available bonus offers, banking options and other features. Of course, kiwis are an important user group for online gambling businesses, so many of them want to be appealing and trustworthy. 

There are forms of gambling that are authorized by law:

  •       Lotteries
  •       Scratch Cards
  •       Race betting 

These legal activities are conducted through the Lotteries Commission and in the case of races through the Racing Board.

The 2003 Gambling Act

The regulatory body in New Zealand is the Department of Internal Affairs and the Gambling Act 2003 is the law that governs gambling activity. There are a few categories or classes according to the gambling act 2003, and basically, they separate the activity into different tears according to the size of the reward.  

According to the law, the legal gambling age in NZ is 18 years, and anyone who is older is allowed to play the lottery, scratch cards, and bet on sports or horse races. However, you need to be at least 20, if you wish to visit one of the land-based casinos. 

The Department of Internal Affairs is there to do due diligence on land-based and gambling online NZ businesses. Some players are prohibited from entering casinos or sportsbooks due to self-exclusion, so penalties for offering entertainment to these people are pretty high. Also, the commission will shut down any establishment that isn’t operating with a valid license.

Who Dominates the NZ Market

Currently, state-owned lottery providers are dominating the gambling market. This is because there aren’t any state-owned online casinos. This is perhaps the main reason why the law needs to change because a lot of kiwis are eager to play pokies and other casino games online. The offshore casinos are currently the best choice, but they don’t support the local communities in NZ. 

Adding a domestic gambling sector would also mean better security for the players. The consumer protection laws would become applicable. More importantly, the government could invest more in education about potential dangers of problem gambling.

Popular Online Casino Games

It comes as no surprise that kiwis really love to play pokies. These are the most played casino games in general, and they are a big hit in Australia as well. Pokies allow players to use relatively small bets and win big if they hit one of the jackpots. Right now, hot drop jackpots are one of the biggest hits, because players can time their gaming session and improve their odds of winning these meaningful rewards.

 Poker, baccarat and blackjack, are also extremely popular. They are considered fair, they have a lower house edge compared to other games, and blackjack and poker players can use strategy to win. Finally, roulette is a favourite among the casual user base. The tactics for roulette are pretty straightforward, and you have effective ways to mitigate your losses. So, the majority of New Zealanders are looking for online casinos that have the best roulette experience.

The same game preference trends can be noticed in regular land-based casinos in New Zealand. As far as sports betting goes rugby is the clear winner, but cricket and netball are massive as well. Around 20% of kiwis play the lottery regularly but the interest could be bigger if the jackpots were higher.


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