Gambling Laws are integral parts of casino gaming. Gambling is a very thrilling form of entertainment but it is not without its issues. Security, safety, and fair practice, on both the part of the casinos and the players, is crucial. This is where New Zealand’s Department of Internal Affairs (Casino and Non-Casino gambling services), and The Gambling Compliance Group come in.

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Gambling Laws in New Zealand – The History

Since the early 1990s, following the establishment of the Gambling Act of 1908, gambling in New Zealand was declared illegal, and all such activity was banned with the exception of Horse race betting, which was only permitted at the racing course. The rest of other gambling activities were only found at illegal underground gambling pubs and clubs.

In 1961 the Totalisator Agency Board (TAB) was established and began helping in the governing of the industry. With the TAB in place, the gambling laws in New Zealand were made more lenient. The gambling laws allowed the legalization of certain gambling activities like lotteries. Eventually, land-based casinos were allowed to operate, and along with them came a host of casino games like the beloved table games such as roulette and blackjack.

It wasn’t long until innovative games like Pokies or Fruit machines started gaining popularity among Kiwi players. They would be found in clubs, pubs, hotels, gambling halls, poker rooms and casinos around New Zealand.

New Zealand Gambling Laws Today

Gambling laws in New Zealand today are enforced by the Department of Internal Affairs. The department’s role where the gambling industry is concerned is to make sure that all operating casinos are legally permitted to do so, with evidence of a casino license. They also make sure these casinos are honest and fair, safe and also responsible in their service provision and practices.

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The Gambling Compliance Group plays a major role in this, especially for non-casino gambling activities – they issue licenses and certificates after thorough investigation of the concerned service providers. On the other hand, casino regulators do the same but for casino-related gambling activities.

The Role of Gambling Laws in New Zealand

So what is the purpose of having laws governing the Kiwi gambling industry? The gambling laws of New Zealand are found in the Gambling Act of 2003. This act was established to maintain responsible, fair and honest practice among all parties of the gaming and gambling world of the country. Here are some of the roles the Act plays:

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  • Reduce any disadvantages that may be caused by gambling activities and the industry as a whole
  • Promote and facilitate responsible gaming/gambling
  • Curb down dishonest fraudulent or any other criminal activities within the gambling scene
  • Control how the gambling industry grows
  • Ensure fairness in gambling
  • Enforce community beneficiation of the industry
  • Control which gambling activities are allowed and which are not

Gambling Laws and the NZ Department of Internal Affairs

As part of the regulation of the New Zealand gambling industry, the Department of Internal Affairs also plays a role to make sure all parties adhere to the laws. The department:

  • Is responsible for gaming legislation
  • Ensures that legislation is complied with
  • Issues non-casino gambling licenses
  • Educates the public about gambling

Gambling Laws and the Gambling Commission of NZ

The New Zealand Gambling Commission also plays an important part in the governing of this industry. It:

  • Receives and considers the license applications handed in by casino operators
  • Revokes or makes changes to license conditions
  • Addresses complaints regarding how the DIA handled class 4 gambling issues
  • Approves and/or makes changes to the agreements between casino operators and venue license holders
  • Addresses any appeals by the DIA regarding regulatory and licensing decisions
  • Acts as the advisory for setting the problem gambling levy

Gambling Laws and the Ministry of Health of New Zealand

The Ministry of Health is also involved in keeping the gambling industry operating within the borders of the law and protecting Kiwi players from the harmful side of gambling. For instance, recently, the ministry created the ‘Preventing and Minimising Gambling Harm’ service plan for 2011 to 2013. The ministry also helps in the management and funding of such endeavours aimed at reducing problem gambling and its effects.

New Zealand Online Gambling and the Gambling Laws

We can look at how the NZ Gambling Laws affect online casinos and online gaming activities. A responsible gambler is one who is aware of the provisions made for them in the law, and make informed decisions about their activities. So on that note, let us consider what the law says about gambling.

  1. According to the Gambling Act of 2003, Kiwi players are NOT prohibited from nor is it illegal for them to engage in online gambling provided the online casino they are playing at is based outside the borders of New Zealand.
  2. This means, when a player chooses to play online at an international online casino, they are subject to the laws of the country from which the casino is operating, and not the New Zealand law. But of course, this does not leave Kiwi players out in the cold unprotected. All of our listed and recommended casinos are licensed, regulated and provide safe and fair service. Their licensing details and certificates can be viewed on their website.
  3. Though there is no explicit provision relating to online gambling winnings, the law of the country does state that income earned from gambling activities especially from playing gaming machines like land-based pokies are exempt from tax.

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New Zealand Gambling Laws Overall

In conclusion, playing at any of our recommended online casinos not only keeps you within the provisions of the law but also gives you peace of mind knowing that you are in safe hands. Our casinos meet the requirements set out, and thus it is not illegal or prohibited for any Kiwi players to register accounts and play at our casinos.

These online casinos are licensed, have updated certificates from regulatory bodies such as eCOGRA as fair, safe and responsible. They are also audited by independent agencies to make sure all the games are fair; they are secure and transparent. For more about new gambling legislation in New Zealand, click here.