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Gambling in New Zealand, rules and regulations

Gambling_in_New_ZealandAs one of mankind’s oldest activities, gambling has existed in different forms in almost every culture and is believed to date back to the Paleolithic period. And, as is usually the case, over time there has been a gradual shift in the attitude toward gambling, with the activity now seen for the most part as an acceptable form of entertainment after being viewed as taboo for so long.

Gambling is one of the largest and most profitable industries in the world.. Additionally, thanks to the Internet, many forms of gaming are now accessible on an unheard scale. According to one report, the global gambling market is projected to reach US$876 billion by 2026.

Rules & Regulations

In September 2022, SkyCity Hamilton became the last land-based casino to open in New Zealand, as gaming in the country is regulated by the Gambling Act 2003 which replaced the Gaming and Lotteries Act 1977, and the Casino Control Act 1990, and has prohibited any new casino venue licenses since that time. While the Gambling Act became law on September 18, 2003, many of its provisions didn’t take effect until July 1, 2004.

The primary purpose of the 2003 Act (pdf), which is currently administered by the Department of Internal Affairs and Gambling Commission, was to “prevent and minimize the harm caused by the activity, including problem gambling,” by controlling its growth. It authorizes some gambling and prohibited the rest and set out to facilitate responsible gambling; ensure the integrity and fairness of games; limit opportunities for crime or dishonesty associated with gambling; ensure that money from gambling benefits the community and facilitate community involvement in decisions regarding the provision of gaming.

No Tax On Winnings

Rather an additional revenue source, gambling in New Zealand is still considered an enjoyable pastime, which may be why any and all winnings from real money online casinos and sports betting via sportsbooks are not taxed – no matter if the proceeds were obtained outside of the country. Unless you’re a professional poker player and your winnings are such that playing poker is your only or predominant source of income, those proceeds are not subject to tax.

New Zealand – Online Casinos

To summarize, all of the gambling in New Zealand is controlled by the Gambling Act of 2003 and its subsequent revisions, minor as they may be. In order to buy scratch cards and participate in the lottery, sports betting and horse races in the country, you must be 18 years or older, while the age to join a land-based casino there is 20 and up.

Any and all gambling activities that are not within the authority of the 2003 Act are still prohibited/illegal. However, New Zealanders are free to join online casinos, gambling sites, and sportsbooks provided by operators/companies based in other countries without having to worry about conflicting with any local regulations.

Considering the current state of New Zealand’s online casino market and the dynamic and fast-changing nature of the gambling environment, it will be interesting to see how the rules and regulations governing those associated enterprises in the country change over time.


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