The best form of betting is seen when it is duly regulated. This regulation is the method by which Governments and concerned bodies keep gambling activities under the confines of the law. It is a good practice necessary to facilitate a safe environment and to ensure law and order. This has become the practice of most advanced countries in the world.

New Zealand is not an exception when it comes to regulating gambling. The activity must comply with the government’s stipulations and orders. Failure to do this is considered an offense that equally has a penalty associated with it. The regulation has helped the New Zealand casino iGaming industry thrive and stabilize.

Having identified that there are rules and regulations guiding gambling in New Zealand. It is, therefore, imperative for all players in the country to be well acquainted with the regulations. This enables you to gamble appropriately without violating any laws guiding the activities. 

This article essentially reviews everything you need to know about gambling regulations in New Zealand. It analyzes the history, laws, and The Gambling Act of 2003. You can read on to have an idea of all these and more.


Gambling in New Zealand is an age-long activity that has existed for a long time. It can be traced as far back as 1835, which is over a century now. Going down memory lane to better understand the evolution of the activity in this country would be good for this discourse. 

Gambling in New Zealand officially kicked off in the year 1835. Then, people started betting on horse races, the most prominent sports activity. The first horse racing event in New Zealand was held at Bays of Island, igniting a new moment for the people. As it grew, betting followed, which was the inception of gambling in the country.

Fast-forward to 1881, there was an enormous growth in the number of Protestants in New Zealand. This Christian group greatly disdains to gamble as it is against their religion. Using their significant influence, they forced the government to proscribe the activity in the country. As a result, there was silence on betting in New Zealand for 51 years.

However, a new regulation in 1932 ended the long break in the country. The government gave states the prerogative to license gambling in their jurisdiction as they deem fit. This allows state-based regulations on the activity across different states in the country. In 1961, the Golden Kiwi lottery was introduced, which also redefined gambling in New Zealand.

In 1971, the Racing Act 1971 was introduced to reinforce betting on horse and greyhound races. After 6 years, private companies were also licensed to initiate gaming machines, lottery games, charity gambling, and prize competitions. Then in 1987, the lotto was introduced, becoming a prominent activity in the country.

Casino was officially legalized in New Zealand in 1990 with a regulation called the Casino Control Act. This led to the growth of gambling, and in 2003, about 6 different land-based gaming arenas were established in places like Christchurch, Dunedin, Queenstown, Auckland, and Hamilton. During this period, there has also been considerable growth in online betting. Hence, the government made a new law called The Gambling Act 2003 which has since regulated the activity in the country to date.

Gambling Act Of 2003

The Gambling Act 2003 is the latest gaming law in New Zealand. After different years of betting evolution, there is a need for the government to take steps to facilitate safe activity. Also, the act aims to control the growth of gambling and discourage any hazards.

The Act, as released in 2003, considers previously enacted regulations. It features the Casino Control Act, governing casino games, and the Racing Act, dealing with sports betting and races. Any other activity that provision is not made for by this act is at this moment considered illegal in the country.

The Gambling Act 2003 classified permitted activities in New Zealand into four classes. The first class is for casino games such as pokies, table games, and card games, including other lottery commission games. Classes 2 and 3 collectively include offerings provided by Non-Profit organizations for the benefit of the people; however, they must be done with a license. Class 4 comprises small-scale activities, including games at home, poker at a party, etc.

Since the Gambling Act was created to regulate gaming in the country, certain types are allowed while others are disallowed. Provisions were made for betting on horse racing and lottery, and playing at land-based casinos in the country is also permitted but must be done in line with the rules and regulations guiding it. Online casinos are prohibited and illegal as they have no provisions in the gambling act.

What About Online Gambling In New Zealand?

There is a twist in NZ virtual gaming. The Gambling Act 2003 does not entirely proscribe playing on websites. Since bookmakers and racing are legalized, people can also bet online. The same applies to the lottery, as its virtual version is permissible.

The twist about the regulation is that online casinos are prohibited, provided they come from a native provider in the country. The Gambling Act only made provision for land-based casinos and their operations within the country. It stipulates that no New Zealand company or organization should provide people with online games.

The exception to this regulation is that it does not consider foreign gaming sites. As such, it is permissible for New Zealand gamers to engage in the best online casino NZ provided by international companies. There is no prohibition on engaging in slot or table games such as blackjack, baccarat, and roulette online, provided they are not from within the country.

This exception has been the option for New Zealand gamers to play casinos online for a long period. This makes it easy for players to play games online without visiting any available land-based casinos. The most interesting part is that you can also claim exciting bonuses and play quality games.

It is essential to state that these international sites providing online casino games to New Zealanders are duly licensed to operate. Although the New Zealand government may not license them, they possess licenses from other regulating bodies worldwide. This makes them legal and safe for game playing for players that engage them.

Who Regulates Gambling in NZ?

The Department of Internal Affairs regulates New Zealand’s gaming industry through the Gaming Compliance Group. They ensure that all New Zealand gambling is conducted fairly, transparently, and responsibly. The Group also ensures that gambling is kept free from criminal influence. They are responsible for protecting players from the harm of problem gambling. 

The Department of Internal Affairs is responsible for issuing licenses to operators in New Zealand. The strict licensing rules are designed to protect players from unscrupulous operators. To obtain a license, the game providers must meet certain criteria. These include demonstrating they have adequate resources to operate their business and a sound business plan.

Licensees must also comply with various regulations and legislation, including the Gambling Act 2003. These include rules on responsible gambling, financial reporting, and anti-money laundering. The Department conducts regular audits of operators. This ensures that they operate within the law and meet their regulatory obligations. If an operator fails to comply with these regulations or engages in illegal activities, they may face punishment from the Gaming Compliance Group. These can include fines, revocation of their license, and even imprisonment in some cases.

The Department of Internal Affairs takes a zero-tolerance approach to any breach of the rules. They also work closely with other law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute illegal gaming operations.

The legal gambling age in New Zealand is 18 years old. Hence, anyone younger than this cannot gamble in any form. This includes playing pokies, betting on sports, etc. All licensed operators in New Zealand must have policies and procedures to prevent underage gambling. They must verify the age of all customers before allowing them to place stakes.  The Gaming Compliance Group ensures that game operators comply with this age limit. They may investigate and take action against any operator who allows minors to gamble. 

Is Gambling a Taxable income NZ?

Tax is a compulsory financial contribution that individuals and businesses pay to the government. They are levied on income, goods and services, property, etc. New Zealand’s tax system relies on “broad-based, low-rate” taxation. This means a wide range of goods and services are taxed, but the rates are generally low.

One area that is not subject to taxation in New Zealand is gambling winnings. This means you are not required to pay taxes if you win money from betting. However, there are several reasons for this, and they include the following:

It is considered a form of leisure and entertainment rather than a profession. Hence, the government does not view gambling winnings as a regular source of income that should be subject to tax. This is to ensure people are not discouraged from participating in recreational activities. Additionally, hitting the right combination at the slot machines is often unpredictable and can be offset by losses. This makes it difficult to accurately assess the amount of tax that should be paid.

The government already collects revenue from gambling through other means. For example, game providers must pay taxes on their profits, and a levy on gaming machines goes towards community funding. These revenues fund public services, including health, education, and social welfare programs.

If you’re a gambler, you know that winning big can be an incredible feeling. However, it can quickly fade when you realize that a portion of your winnings will be taken away in taxes. That’s why New Zealand’s policy of not taxing all forms of betting is a significant player advantage. The following are some other benefits New Zealanders tend to enjoy.

Keeping more of their winnings can incentivize them to continue playing. If people know they do not have to pay taxes if they win, they may be more likely to participate in betting. Making gambling more accessible to people who might not otherwise be able to afford it if their winnings were taxed. Discouraging people from participating in illegal gaming activities that are likely to occur if taxes are applied to winnings.


The online gaming industry in New Zealand has experienced a boost in recent years. With this growth, many offshore operators now offer New Zealanders various games and betting options. While it comes with many advantages, there is a need for effective regulation to protect Kiwis and promote responsible gaming.

In response, the New Zealand government implemented the Gambling Act of 2003. This involves balancing its benefits, potential risks, and harms. It allows offshore operators to provide gaming services to residents of the country. The act provides a framework for regulating the industry. The Department of Internal Affairs enforces the regulations in the Gambling Act 2003. It necessitates offshore operators to comply with the requirements for providing services in New Zealand. 

The DIA ensures that all NZ operators are reputable, licensed, and comply with the provisions of the Gambling Act 2003. This includes ensuring that their activities are conducted fairly and transparently. It also helps to prevent fraud and identity theft and ensures players have a safe experience. 

The DIA provides information on the warning signs of addiction and how to set limits on gambling activities. They also collaborate with the Ministry of Health to help those addicted to betting. The regulations require operators to pay taxes on their profits to the New Zealand government—this fund’s public services and initiatives like promoting responsible gambling practices. 

Industry regulation in New Zealand is an ongoing process. It changes as new technologies and trends emerge. Hence, Kiwis need to stay informed about the developments in the industry. This ensures they follow the latest guidelines for responsible gambling. By doing so, New Zealanders can enjoy the benefits of online gaming. At the same time, minimize the potential risks associated with it.