Gambling Laws NZ, Online and In Person

Gambling Laws NZ Online and In Person
Published: 25/01/2023
Reading: 4 minutes

The gambling industry in New Zealand is an enormous beast, with many a gaming machine throughout the country, so when navigating the industry, it helps to know the Gambling Laws NZ.

In fact, the majority of adults in New Zealand gamble at least once a year. Kiwis must be 20 years of age to gamble at a land-based casino. However, the legal age for other forms of gambling (lottery tickets, gaming machines, sports betting, etc.) is 18 years of age.

There are strict rules that every gambling operator must follow when they operate in New Zealand. All gambling operations, venues and related ventures must be authorised by the Gambling Act 2003.

Any bets placed that aren't under this act (such as private gambling) are considered illegal gambling.

Are you interested in learning more about the gambling laws in NZ?

Today, we're going to go over everything you should know about legal gambling venues and avoiding unauthorized gambling in New Zealand. Let's get stuck into it.

Gambling Act 2003

The national government introduced the Gambling Act 2003, on September 18, 2003.

Its main purpose was to minimise the chances of gambling causing harm in New Zealand. Without measures for responsible gambling, people are at a higher risk of problem gambling, especially as many gambling activities (especially pokies) are designed to incentivise the player to play more, therefore they tend to be quite addictive.

Since this act and the Gambling Amendment Act has been established, there has been proper gambling harm prevention in NZ.

One thing that made a big difference with this act was that certain gambling operators were authorised, while other types of gambling were prohibited.

The act also prevents a new gambling operator from launching a New Zealand casino. Casino licensing applications were thoroughly reviewed before a license was authorised.

This was very important for how the government planned to gamble moving forward in the region. These rules weren't in place just to limit gambling activity.

They were set in place to make sure all gambling authorised by the act was fair. This is to prevent gambling crime and ensure all operating casinos are honest.

Gaming Machines

There are several non-casino establishments throughout New Zealand that are licensed to operate gaming machines as part of the game rules. Any venue with gambling equipment must have local authority consent when they want to add another gaming machine on site.

These venues are also limited to how many machines they are allowed to have.

The amount of gambling equipment an establishment is allowed to have will depend on when its license was received.

If a venue has a license before October 17, 2001, it's allowed to have up to 18 gaming machines on site. Venues that received their license after this date are limited to a maximum of 9 machines.

Internal affairs

The Department of Internal Affairs is responsible for all gambling licensing and enforcement decisions in New Zealand. Their duty is to make sure that all state-owned institutions for gambling meet the standards of the gambling act.

They have a significant interest in reducing the harmful effects of gambling.

The national government wants to prohibit unauthorised gambling completely. That is why the Department of Internal Affairs must thoroughly weigh its decision to work with the gambling commission to reach a viable strategy.

The outcome depends wholly on how the casino creates a safe and fair outcome for all bettors.

This is to prevent criminal activity within the casinos and benefit the community. All proceeds from gambling under the gambling act go towards the community.

Another thing that has affected decisions made by the Department of Internal Affairs is the increase in gambling since more non-casino gambling options have arisen. From 2020 to 2021, over $2.62 billion was spent on gambling in NZ.

In 2022, it was announced that the government set aside $76.1 million for a 3-year integrated problem gambling strategy to reduce gambling.

new zealand man at the casino

Casino Gambling

There are 6 licensed casinos that operate in New Zealand under the gambling act. SkyCity Casino has 4 locations throughout the country. There is also a Christchurch Casino and Dunedin Casino. New Zealand gambling laws prohibit other land-based casinos from opening up.

These casinos are frequently visited by Kiwis and tourists.

This is because adults throughout the nation enjoy a night out and find excitement in placing a bet on real money games, and these casinos are also home to a ton of other non-casino gambling activities, such as restaurants, bars and clubs.

Pokies are the most popular choice among gamblers in NZ when they visit the casino, due to the ease of access and the fact that they don't require much skill or concentration. Many pokie venues draw in a lot of bettors.

People must be 20 years of age or older to enter a casino in New Zealand. The Department of internal affairs and gambling act prohibits the entry of minors because there is alcohol served at these venues.

Sports Betting

The majority of Kiwis prefer sports betting to other forms of gambling. Sports betting services are high in demand throughout New Zealand, especially for races. People must be 18 years of age or older to place a sports bet.

Horse racing is the most popular sport to bet on in NZ. The New Zealand Racing Board established the racing act as part of the gambling act 2003. This ensures that all gambling conducted for racing meets the racing codes. Its purpose is to regulate racing betting in the gambling industry.

The racing industry act ensures that all horse and greyhound races are scheduled to maximize profits and follow the best practices.

Online Gambling

There are no online casinos operating in New Zealand. Any NZ-based website that promotes gambling is strictly prohibited. This is because the gambling amendment act prevents new casinos from launching, so remote interactive gambling remains the option for New Zealand players.

This doesn't mean that Kiwis can't bet online though. They can still join an online gambling operator located in a different country. There are plenty of legal online casinos that offer services to NZ residents.


The New Zealand Lotteries Commission regulates all lottery sales in the country. Their mission is to ensure all of the net proceeds from national lotteries go towards NZ's communities. This includes lotto, Powerball, Keno, and Instant Kiwis.

They're also responsible for making the rules for lotteries and regulating them. They will also advise the Minister of Internal Affairs on all lottery matters.

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Last updated: February 24, 2023