Your Definitive Guide To New Zealand Gambling Laws

If you want to gamble (online or live), you want to do so knowing it’s safe and legal. Read on to discover everything you need to know about legislation affecting gambling in New Zealand. Like many countries, gambling is popular in NZ and therefore regulation and legislation is important to protect people who enjoy gaming (including roulette!).

New Zealand Gambling Act 2003

Getting To Know The Gambling Act 2003

The Gambling Act 2003 is the key piece of legislation that affects New Zealand gamblers. It’s a complex piece of legislation but at its core, the aim is to protect people and minimise any harm caused by gambling.
It consolidated earlier laws and also brought legislation up to date and also ensured the rise of internet casinos and betting was considered.

Let’s start by understanding what the purposes of the Act actually are. These are:

  • Ensure gambling is responsible and fair
  • Prevent and minimise harm that gambling might cause (e.g. with problem gambling)
  • Cut down on any crime or unfairness that gambling games may cause
  • Benefit communities and help them be involved in deciding how gambling is provided
  • Govern how gambling grows

Now we know why the Gambling Act 2003 exists, let’s talk about what it considers legal or not. Basically all gambling is considered illegal unless authorised or falls under the act.
There are four ‘classes’ of gambling:

  • Class 1 – this relates to people betting in private. A host isn’t allowed to make a profit, and any proceeds go to the winner. You’re also not allowed to have a prize or turnover that’s larger than NZ$500
  • Class 2 – this is for societies and clubs. Whilst they don’t need a licence, there are two conditions: firstly prizes must be between NZ$500 and NZ$5000; secondly, turnover must be between NZ$500 and NZ$25000
  • Classes 3 and 4 – these are for the big operators and casinos – here we’re talking gambling machines and/or table games. These companies must be licenced (this is done by the Gambling Commission). Class 4 relates to gambling machines, Class 3 is about prizes up to NZ$5000.

Gambling Act 2003 and Online Gambling In New Zealand

We’ve covered the main parts of the Gambling Act above. It mainly relates to bookies and casinos that are land based. Obviously these days, online betting is a big thing, so how does the Act affect that? Well, it refers to online gambling as ‘remote’ betting – which is anything you can think of including mobile and lottery games.

Whist you’re not allowed to gamble online with an online casino based in New Zealand – you can do so with a site based overseas.
As hundreds of top online roulette sites are operated overseas, this means you have tons of choice and are betting legally.

How Old Do I Need To Be To Gamble In New Zealand?

To gamble legally in New Zealand you must be at least 20 to gamble in a casino and at least 18 to buy instant games, play gaming machines or bet on horse races/sport games.

Do I Have To Pay Tax On My Gambling Winnings In New Zealand?

No, you don’t pay tax on gambling winnings if you’re a New Zealand player. Why? Because it’s considered a hobby or pastime rather than anything professional. Nice – especially if you win big at roulette!

Gambling Laws in NZ – A Summary

  • The Gambling Act of 2003 governs gambling in New Zealand
  • It’s legal to gamble online if you’re doing it at an overseas casino
  • Depending on the type of gambling, you need to be 18+ or 20_
  • You don’t pay tax on your winnings

Where Can I Read More?

New Zealand Gambling Laws – FAQ

Is online gambling legal in New Zealand?

Yes, it’s legal to gamble online from New Zealand for real money as long as the casino operator is based off-shore.

When did New Zealand legalise gambling?

There have been various forms of gambling legislation in NZ over the years. For example, from the 1920s until 1961 it was illegal to gamble on horse races. The Gambling Act 1994 gave legal status to many live/land forms of casinos, and then in 2003 the Gambling Act consolidated and udated everything.

Is poker legal in New Zealand?

Yes, it’s legal to play poker in NZ in land-based casinos as long as they are licenced. If you want to play poker online, it needs to be done at an operator who is based overseas.

How much does a gambling licence cost in New Zealand?

This depends on what ‘class’ of gambling it is, what type of operator licence it relates to, and other factors. Check out the official page for a full breakdown.