The Department of Internal Affairs (Casino and Non-Casino gambling services), along with The Gambling Compliance Group, oversees and regulates safe, secure and fair gambling practices in New Zealand today, by issuing casino licenses and certificates, and ensuring all operating casinos are legally permitted to do so. They are also responsible for educating the New Zealand public about gambling.
How NZ Gambling Laws Affect Online Gambling
Here’s what the New Zealand Gambling laws have to say about gambling online:
- Kiwi players are not prohibited from engaging in online gambling activities, nor is it deemed illegal to do so, provided the casino operator is based outside the borders of New Zealand, this also applies to betting on sports and playing poker online.
- Therefore, you are subject to the laws of the country from which the online casino operates.
- Although there is no provision that relates specifically to winnings made online, the law states that “all gaming machine income is exempt from income tax.” This is because Inland Revenue considers online gambling to be a pastime rather than a profession. It is however advised to consult an accountant when pocketing a big win!
- It’s interesting to note that The Gambling Act of 2003 has since been amended two times. First in 2005, and then again in 2015. However, neither of these amendments seem to have had any impact on the day-to-day rights of New Zealanders playing online.
The Purpose of Gambling Laws Today
The gambling laws of New Zealand are contained in the Gambling Act of 2003, and some of its main roles are:
- To promote and facilitate responsible gaming and gambling
- To reduce any disadvantages as a result of gambling activities and the industry in its entirety
- To control the gambling industry’s growth
- To restrict dishonest / fraudulent / criminal gambling activities
- To ensure fairness
- To control legal vs illegal gambling activities
- To enforce the gambling industry to act in the community’s benefit
The Problem Gambling Foundation of New Zealand (PGF) serves to assist anyone either directly or indirectly affected by gambling. Their qualified counsellors provide free, professional and confidential counselling as well as support groups.
Contact details: Website: https://www.pgf.nz/
Toll free telephone: 0800 664 262
The NZ Gambling commission
The NZ Gambling commission was established under the 2003 Gambling Act, with the specific role of receiving and considering license applications, revoking or changing license conditions, addressing DIA complaints and appeals, as well as acting in an advisory capacity for problem gambling.
The History of Gambling Laws in New Zealand
With the exception of horse-racing (provided it was at a racing course), all gambling activities in New Zealand was declared illegal by the establishment of the 1908 Gambling Act. The Totalisator Agency Board (TAB), which was formed in 1961, facilitated more lenient regulations which resulted in the legalization of certain gambling activities like lotteries. This subsequently led to legally operated land-based casinos where previously Kiwi punters had to take their much-loved activities underground!