New Zealand Online Gambling Laws and Regulations

Published on August 16, 2017 in Casino Tips

New Zealand Casino RegulationsWhen it comes to gambling it is safe to assume that all governments have a set of gambling regulation and legislation in place. Online gambling might be a newer form of gambling but it is quickly becoming the most popular way to play and win. 

There are hundreds of online casinos available for players from all over the world. And while we might be quick to indulge it is always best to read up on the country laws regarding this popular activity.
 

For New Zealanders, gambling is not just a regular activity but also an extremely big hobby. This article will provide the necessary information all online gambling enthusiasts need for a safe and relaxing gameplay.

In many countries, gambling is considered illegal. In others, gambling is illegal but there are some loopholes when it comes to online gambling. New Zealand, unlike most other countries seems to be quite open-minded regarding any form of gambling and the benefits thereof. Despite the open-mindedness, New Zealand’s Department of Internal Affairs and the Gambling Compliance group are invested in ensuring that players get the safest, most secure and fair experience possible.
 

The History of Gambling Laws

The Government of New Zealand wasn’t always so open-minded. The Gambling Act of 1908 made it very clear that gambling was not just unacceptable but also illegal in New Zealand. Each and every form of gambling except Horse Race betting was illegal. Players were also only allowed to bet on horse racing directly from the race course. 

It was the establishing of the Totalisator Agency Board (TAB) in 1961 that turned things around for the gambling community. Bringing TAB on board meant that the gambling laws would become more lenient. It is after this that gambling activities such as lottery was legalised. Shortly afterwards land-based casinos were given permission to start operating and provide players with the best casino games which included the highly popular Blackjack and Roulette. This was only the beginning and shortly afterwards online slots or Pokies, as it is referred to among Kiwi players, was available in clubs, hotels, pubs, poker rooms, gambling halls and casinos in and around New Zealand. 

All laws regarding gambling in New Zealand is enforced by the Department of Internal Affairs. Their biggest task is to ensure that all operators are legal and holds a valid casino license. They also check that these casinos are acting fairly and responsibly. The main concern remains that players get to practice responsible gambling.
 

Gambling Act 2003

The Gambling Act established in 2003 governs all legality of gambling in New Zealand. The Act outlines four classes of legal betting, anything that falls outside of these parameters is considered to be illegal. There is a slight technicality in the Act when it comes to online gambling or as it is stated ‘remote interactive gambling’.  So to say it would seem that online casinos in New Zealand aren’t really legal but there is nothing illegal about residents participating in online casino gaming from websites in other countries. 

There is a slight technicality in the Act when it comes to online gambling or as it is stated ‘remote interactive gambling’.  So to say it would seem that online casinos in New Zealand aren’t really legal but there is nothing illegal about residents participating in online casino gaming from websites in other countries. 

The Gambling Act has been amended two times in the last few years. First in 2005 and again in 2015 and none of these amendments seems to impact those playing online.
 

3 facts about New Zealand Gambling Laws

  • Players aren’t held liable – Nowhere in the legislation is it stated that players are not allowed to participate in online gambling at overseas sites. This means that as a resident in New Zealand you will not be prosecuted for playing at foreign online casinos.
  • Online Sports Betting is controlled – The New Zealand Racing Board is not only the sole provider of racing and sports betting services that run through TAB, it also controls all online sports betting in New Zealand. There is a loophole when it comes to international online sportsbooks. Players using international sites for sports betting can legally do so without worrying about any consequences. 
  • The Grey Area of Poker – Playing at online poker rooms is the same as playing at online casinos. The law does not prohibit it or deem it illegal to play at international online poker rooms.
     

Taxes on Gambling Winnings

All smart and forward moving countries have tax percentages placed on all types of activities and businesses, even those who run an online casino site or own a land-based casino. While it is almost expected for operators and business owners to pay tax on their gross revenue there is normally not a lot of clarity regarding the tax situation for gambling individuals.

In New Zealand especially, there has been a lot of confusion regarding the taxation on gambling winnings. The fact is that in most cases you won’t be required to pay tax on your gambling winnings. Most winnings are exempt from taxation but there are some cases that require tax be paid. 

The reason most winnings are exempt from tax is because the act of gambling is considered to be a recreational activity and not a means of income. If however a player is playing with intent of producing income then it becomes a taxable income. Basically, as long as you have a set source of income and don’t gamble full time then you won’t be required to pay tax.
 

Is Gambling Legal in New Zealand?

It is completely legal to participate in online gambling from any international online casino site. The law itself prohibits companies and residents to offer in-play betting or casino games such as poker, bingo and pokies. The only in-house gambling activities deemed legal includes the lottery and sports betting through TAB. 

You can therefore rest assured that gambling online is completely legal and that there will be no repercussions to follow. The only illegal thing regarding online gambling is advertising; websites could pay penalties of up to $5,000 per such offense. While you can play without worrying about legalities it would be best to choose a site that is fair and secure.

Take a look at our list of top international online casinos to ensure that you’ll get the best casino experience in a safe and fair environment where you are first priority.