History of Gambling in New Zealand
Like most countries, the first form of gambling to become legal in New Zealand was bookmaking back in 1920, and the first national lotteries became legal in 1933. The Totalisator Agency Board legalised betting on horse racing in 1961, and the first-ever casino opened up in Christchurch in 1994.
It was only in 2003 that the new Gambling Act allowed the legalisation of gambling in New Zealand. That being said, the options for online gambling in New Zealand are quite limited and the government is currently working on updating the current law to make it more appropriate for today’s digital world.
Legal Online Casinos in New Zealand
Currently, the list of the best New Zealand online casinos is quite small as there are only two authorised gambling websites in New Zealand.
New Zealand's Best Online Lottery Site: Lotto NZ
Lotto New Zealand is the national lottery. The lotto site is open daily between 6:30 am and 11:00 pm. On Wednesdays and Saturdays, it is open until 11:59 pm. The game selection on the site includes Lotto, Powerball, Strike, Keno, Bullseye and Instant Kiwi. There are two ways to buy tickets - either going to a Lotto NZ retail store or else downloading the MyLotto app and buying tickets online.
Lotto NZ hosts a number of seasonal promotions such as Christmas and Summer promos as well as a prize draw and social media promotions.
Best New Zealand Sports Betting Site: TAB
TAB is the only racing and sports platform in New Zealand. To place bets, you can either visit one of the 550 retail outlets or access the sportsbook site online either through a web browser or by downloading the mobile app.
You can bet on several popular sports, including basketball, football, rugby league, rugby union, as well as horse racing. Odds on major tournaments and leagues are available at TAB. There is also the possibility of participating in jackpots where you could win a share of the prize pool. You can also take advantage of plenty of bonus offers on the TAB site.
Keep in mind that these bonuses often come with wagering requirements that would need to be met before a withdrawal can be made.
Popular Casino Games in NZ
There are hundreds of casino games to play, from pokies to card games where you can play against dealers and other games like scratch cards and bingo.
Pokies, also known as slot machines, are a staple in any casino. You will find a huge range of pokies by leading game developers to play at land-based NZ casinos. At the moment, we cannot recommend any online casinos to play pokies.
However, you can try out some popular online pokies by top online casino software developers like Microgaming, Playtech and Evolution Gaming in our free pokies area. Many casinos also offer this option of playing popular online pokies for free in demo mode, giving you the security of spinning the reels and learning the meaning of all the different symbols without depositing any cash.
Working similarly to online jackpot pokies, the jackpot slots at brick and mortar casinos are connected through a system and a percentage of the house edge is contributed to the progressive jackpot.
- Beginner-friendly: Yes;
- Odds of winning: 4%
- Maximum winnings: 0,5X.
A popular card game, casino game collections would be incomplete without blackjack tables. Read our detailed Blackjack Guide for tips and strategies.
- Beginner-friendly: Yes;
- Odds of winning: 48%
- Maximum winnings: 1,5X.
Roulette is considered one of the oldest tables titles. Roulette games are quite easy to play. All you have to do is pick a table game that fits your bet range and decide whether to place a bet on a number, red or black. For more information and strategies, check out our Roulette Guide.
- Beginner-friendly: Yes;
- Odds of winning: 49%
- Maximum winnings: 35X.
This card game is often overlooked by other classics. Baccarat is a casino game where you may need some skill and knowledge of the rules, betting options and table format. Read our Baccarat Guide for more information.
- Beginner-friendly: No;
- Odds of winning: 45%
- Maximum winnings: 25X
Live Dealer Casino Games
Live dealer games can be found at almost all online casino sites. A live casino card game gives you a real-life casino experience from the comfort of your home. Unfortunately, due to the current legal restrictions, we cannot recommend any live dealer gambling site which accepts NZ players.
Mobile Online Casinos New Zealand
Playing online casino games on mobile devices and tablets has become a preferred way of gambling. There are two ways of playing on a mobile device, either accessing the mobile casino through a web browser or downloading a casino app. Whilst not all casino websites have created apps, the majority of online casinos are fully optimised for mobiles.
There usually isn't that much of a difference between playing on a desktop computer or a mobile. One of the perks of using smartphones is that players can play on the go. As a Kiwi player, you can choose to play Lotto NZ and TAB either on a web browser on your phone or by downloading the apps.
Is Gambling Legal in New Zealand?
The Gambling Act of 2003 replaced the Gaming and Lotteries Act 1977 and the Casino Control Act 1990, setting out guidelines to prevent and minimise gambling harm, authorising some gambling types and prohibiting others and overseeing contributions to the community from gambling benefits. The Gambling Compliance within the Department of Internal Affairs is responsible for the enforcement of gambling laws.
Land-based casinos are licensed by the Gambling Commission and the New Zealand Lotteries Commission oversees and conducts New Zealand lotteries.
Online Gambling Laws for Kiwi Players
The current act is only applicable to gambling services offered in New Zealand. Presently, online gambling can only be done on two authorised platforms. Any casino sites offering gambling services from New Zealand are doing so illegally. That being said, casino players in New Zealand can access and gamble on offshore gambling sites at their own risk.
Taxes for Casino Winnings in New Zealand
The revenue department treats gambling as a hobby and no tax is deducted from any of your winnings. This means that Kiwi natives are exempt from paying any tax on their gambling winnings and can keep all their winnings to themselves. However, the winnings of professional gamblers are taxable.
Choosing the Best Online Casino NZ
Although many casinos seem similar, there are a few things you want to watch out for when picking the one for you. We cover as much as we can in each casino guide that we research and write. There are a few key factors to keep in mind so that you can gamble safely.
If a casino is a legitimate one, then it will have all the necessary licenses and regulations that will allow you to put your mind at ease while you play. Typically speaking, the license details will be found on a casino’s terms and conditions. For your safety, it is very important to always play at casinos that are licensed as these would be held to high standards. For instance, casinos regulated by the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) and the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) are regarded to be highly secure.
Casino Payment Methods
When you need to place a deposit at a casino there will be several deposit methods for you to choose from, including POLi, debit and credit cards like Visa, Mastercard, Amex, prepaid cards like PaySafeCard, wire transfers and ewallets like PayPal, Skrill and Neteller.
The banking methods would usually be listed on a separate banking page. The payout timeframe, ie the time it takes you to receive your withdrawal, depends on the withdrawal methods you select as well as any AML and KYC check that the casino would need to do. For these checks, you will be required to submit some documents, such as a bank account statement to verify the Source of Funds and Source of Wealth.
We always recommend that you check whether the payout processing time, potential fees, minimum deposit amount and withdrawal limits are reasonable. Here is a list of some popular payment methods:
Native Customer Care
Customer support always comes at the forefront of any casino’s priority, which is why many offer 24/7 live chat services. Always check the FAQ page to check if the answer to your question is there before contacting a customer service representative.
The Credibility of the Casino
It is important to know what other players think about their experiences and recommendations for playing at the safe online casinos real money you’re considering. Look out for comments on customer support, payout efficiency and game tampering. If a casino has a bad reputation because of these factors, it is best to avoid it. Something else to consider is the fairness of the casino.
For example, the casino's house edge percentages should be reasonable.
Player safety and security should always be a priority of a casino. A serious casino would use different security tools and hold quality certificates from independent companies like eCogra and iTech Labs.
Land-based Casinos in New Zealand
New Zealand has 6 land-based casinos with varied game selections, offering over 2800 pokies and 230 table games to play. Most of the casinos are open every day, with the exception of holidays like Christmas Day.
Grand Dunedin Casino
Opened in 1999, Dunedin Casino, now known as Grand Dunedin Casino, was handed a 25-year casino venue license. However, this was reduced to a 15-year license following the Gambling Act of 2003. The casino is currently in the process of renewing its casino license, making it the second casino to go through such a license renewal review process.
- Address: 118 High Street, Dunedin New Zealand
- Phone: 0800 4770 4545
- Hours: 11 am - 3 am
A young Christchurch Casino Players Club member won a whopping 450,000 NZD in a prize draw. The Christchurch Casino Players Club is a VIP club where members can earn and redeem points on gaming as well as food and beverages. To become a member, you can either sign up at the desk or download the iOS app from the App Store or the Android app from the Google Play Store on your smartphone or tablet.
- Address: 30 Victoria Street, Christchurch, New Zealand
- Phone: 03 365 9999
- Hours: Monday - Thursday and Sunday 12 pm - 12 am, Friday and Saturday 12 pm - 2 am
Owned by SkyCity, the casino opened its door at the end of 2000, making it the 4th casino to open in New Zealand. At SkyCity Queenstown, you can find 86 gaming machines, 8 table games as well as another 4 table games in the VIP area.
- Address: 16-24 Beach Street, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand
- Phone: +64 3 441 0400
- Hours: 11 am - 12 am
In 2019, Kiwi poker player Ken Chan won a massive $152,200 on the highly regarded World Poker Tour. Ken Chan beat Sarah Saifi with a straight at the NZ$ 2000 buy-in Main Event.
- Address: Victoria Street &, Federal Street, Auckland CBD, Auckland 1010, New Zealand
- Phone: 0800 759 2489
- Hours: 24 hours
At SkyCity Hamilton casino, you can find over 330 slot machines and 23 table games where you can find table classics such as Blackjack, Roulette and Baccarat. The casino also has two exclusive VIP programmes to reward its most loyal players.
- Address: 346 Victoria Street, Hamilton Central, Hamilton 3204, New Zealand
- Phone: +64 7 834 4900
- Hours: 24 hours
SkyCity Wharf Casino
Due to the pandemic restrictions, SkyCity Wharf Casino closed around mid-August 2021 and has since remained closed even though other SkyCity properties were re-opened in September 2021.
- Address: Steamer Wharf, 88 Beach Street, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand
- Phone: +67 03 441 1495
- Hours: From 4 pm onwards
Gamble Responsibly in New Zealand
It is important to know your limits when it comes to gambling. If you feel that you are spending too much time gambling, take a look at our page with the necessary information to advise you on your next step in seeking help. If you feel like you need to talk to a professional, New Zealand has the following helplines available for players in need:
Gambling Helplines New Zealand
Future for Casino Operators in New Zealand
In 2019, the department of Internal Affairs held a public consultation on online gambling as an attempt to address the current Gambling Act and how to update the laws to accommodate today’s digital trend. During the consultation, the government brought up the possibility of extending gambling products offered on Lotto and TAB and the possibility of licensing domestic and offshore operators.
Factors to minimise harm from online gambling were also discussed.
According to a PR statement issued by the government, the conclusions from the public consultations will be paving the next steps of the online gambling review. There has been little development since then, so whether online casino operators will be allowed to operate in New Zealand remains to be seen.
New Zealand Casinos FAQ
Have some more questions about casinos in New Zealand? We have answered a few below.