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New Zealand is a beautiful island-country, with a wonderful nature, vibrant culture, and caring government. By the last, we mean that their laws are created in a way that makes you feel safe. A great example is their gambling laws. New Zealand online casinos are regulated by several bodies and authorities, and you will be pretty sure where it is best to play, and what places should be avoided. HolyMoly Casinos are here to tell you the details about the history of gambling in New Zealand and its current laws.

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The History of New Zealand Gambling

We will start with the gambling history. A long time ago, when there were only jungles on the island of New Zealand, the first gamblers appeared. Okay, that was a bit far-fetched. We’ll just stick to the dates and facts, and we are not going to milk it for what it’s worth. So, all things started with the appearance of the first “Art Union” in 1877. It was the first lottery used for charity purposes and funding. In 1933 the first national lotteries were spread along the country and were very popular. With the popularity came many crimes using the lotteries.

To regulate this sphere and decrease the number of crime issues, the Golden Kiwi Lottery was introduced by the National Government. Since 1961, this field of gambling was regulated, and legal.

New Zealand

Horse racing always had a questionable attitude with the government of various countries. It was banned in New Zealand in 1920, and it was legal again only in 41 years, in 1961. Probably, they’ve found a method to regulate this sphere, and that was the main issue.

Have you heard about pokies?

During the following 26 years, there were no other gambling activities in New Zealand. Then the 1987 came - the year of changes. Firstly, the New Zealand Lotteries Commission was established that year. It became one of the first regulatory authorities for a gambling sphere of those times. Secondly, such a thing as “Big Wednesday” was growing in popularity. It included lotto, Keno, and scratch cards. So, the gambling entertainments were enlarging in their diversity. However, the most prominent event of 1987 was the appearance of the first slot machines. They could be found in bars and hotels and were put mostly for charity needs. By the way, the Kiwi (the residents of New Zealand) call slots “pokies.” This name is also commonly used by the Australian gamblers.

Starting from the 1st of July 2009, all slot machines had to display certain information to players. Mainly, you should be able to get notices of how much time you’ve spent playing, and how much money you’ve already lost. That was made for the sake of safety to avoid gambling addiction. While thinking about people, they’ve forgotten about the crime rate. In 2010, there were so many slot machines that it was impossible to watch them all. The level of gambling crime was crucial, but they’ve created a list of acts to change this situation for better (we’ll talk about those a bit later). One more interesting fact: nowadays, there are over 19,000 slot machines across the island. Well, you can easily get involved in gambling with such an amount of entertainment on every corner.

First land-based casino in New Zealand

The first land-based casino in New Zealand opened in 1994. Nowadays, there are six brick and mortar casinos operating on the island of New Zealand:

  1. Dundelin Casino;
  2. Christchurch Casino;
  3. SKYCITY Auckland;
  4. SKYCITY Hamilton;
  5. SKYCITY Queenstown;
  6. Lasseters Wharf Casino.

You should definitely visit one of those. There are actually five cities with gambling facilities, and the biggest gambling city is Queenstown, with two casinos. If you are a gambler who likes to try different places, you should visit this city. But if you’d better see the largest New Zealand casino - go to the SKYCITY Auckland casino. Sorry for this small digression, but HolyMoly Casinos hope it was interesting. Let’s return to the history now.

In 2008, the first online lotto tickets became available. That year was also famous for the establishing of the first regulatory body for sports betting - Totalizator Agency Board (TAB). New Zealanders are really fond of sports, and their favorite ones are cricket and rugby. It is logical, that most bets are placed on those two.

Gaming Law

Now that the history lesson is over, we will talk more about the laws and regulations of New Zealand. The main body controlling gambling is the Department of International Affairs. Actually, there are two more authorities which deal with this sphere: The Ministry of Health and The Gambling Commission. The most common misconception is that gambling laws in New Zealand and Australia are similar. They are not!

The main document we have to focus on is the Gambling Act (2003). It was created to control the sphere, minimize the harm to users, facilitate, ensure in fairness, and limit crime. The most current additions were made in 2015 in the Gambling Amendment Act. They divide the gambling fields into four groups according to the size of turnover.

The main things you need to know about the gambling law in New Zealand are:

  1. International gambling is prohibited by law, but actually, you won’t be punished for playing at foreign online casinos;
  2. You should be 20 years old (not 18, as usual) to play at land-based and online casinos;
  3. You shouldn’t pay any taxes for your winnings at online casinos unless you are considered as a professional gambler. If it’s just a hobby, there is no taxation;
  4. Advertising of foreign online casinos is illegal.  

HolyMoly Casinos hope that you have no questions now, but we’ve got some more facts for you. Non-commercial gambling brings funding to a wide range of community purposes, such as hospitals and education. Remember, that the laws tend to change, so choose the best online casino in New Zealand until you have such an opportunity.

People are really concerned about the problem of gambling addiction in New Zealand, and you have three sources to deal with it here:

  1. Statistics and Information on Gaming in New Zealand;
  2. The Problem Gambling Library;
  3. Gambling Helpline.

As you can see, the laws are organized in the way you are free to choose anything you want. Gamble wherever you like.

How to Choose a Decent Online Casino for a New Zealander

We’ve prepared a list of tips you should know before playing at online casinos in New Zealand:

  1. New Zealand New Zealand shouldn’t be on the list of restricted countries;
  2. Games Casinos All slots should be available (not just specific pokies);
  3. Software Software should be in instant modes;
  4. New Zealand currency The casino should allow using NZD currency;
  5. Reputable licensing Reputable licensing;
  6. Support Support available 24/7;
  7. Payment methods There should be a decent selection of payment methods.

These are only the main issues, but we’ve made your choice easier, and created a list of the best online gambling sites in New Zealand.

Best New Zealand Online Casinos for 2018

Here is a list of the most reputable online casinos for the Kiwi:


Before you choose one of this beautiful casinos, read our reviews, to know more about each of these gambling websites. We hope that this information was helpful to our New Zealand users!


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