New Zealand Gambling Act: why do Kiwis need it?

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The Gambling Production house of New Zealand is a massive business that has a net worth of approximately $2 billion per year. Among all the games offered to the punters, Pokies have a massive profit margin of around 35%. Other games give a combined profit of around 26%. The Federal Government of New Zealand has imposed strict rules in order to maintain the correct format of gambling in order to control the industry.

Gambling History In New Zealand

Gambling in New Zealand heads back to the 19th century when people would bet on athletic competitions and cards. The most popular form of gambling was on horses and the first race was held in 1835, at the Bay of Islands. However, it was banned during the 1920s until 1961 when a change of law happened to benefit the industry.

The 1980s saw the legalization of lottery games due to the increasing popularity among punters. The Gambling Act of 1994 favoured gambling in New Zealand and live venues were built across the country. This led to the appearance of NZ casinos with only $1 deposit that were popular among Kiwis. The Government passed the Gambling Act in 2003 after millions of dollars of investment were made to benefit the industry.

New Zealand’s Gambling Act, 2003

The Gambling Act became law on September 18, 2003, whereas many of its provisions took effect on the 1st of July, 2004. The Act combines the existing laws on gambling in the country and was also introduced to the world of the Internet. The primary aim of the government behind the introduction of the law was to nullify the negative effects of gambling on the people. The main structure of the Gambling Act remains the same after the amendment in 2005 and 2015. In 2002, the Act was initially known as The Responsible Gambling Bill. Based on the fundamentals of that, the current law was built for ensuring great service and security by both online and live gambling.

Effects Of Gambling Act in  New Zealand

The Gambling Act of 2003 is strict about the minimum age of participation in gambling which is 20 and above for brick and mortar casinos. For placing bets on sports, buying scratch cards and playing the lottery, the minimum age is 18 and above. Apart from the age regulation, there are other main aims of the government in regards to the Gambling Act of 2003:

  • The Gambling growth is to be controlled and monitored wholly  by the Government
  • Minimization of problem gambling and trying to prevent it on a large scale
  • Authorization of gambling by prohibiting the rest
  • Encouraging responsible gambling habits
  • Fair play and integrity to be maintained while gambling
  • Limiting the scope of dishonesty and crimes related to gambling
  • Gambling profits must benefit the community
  • Community involvement in the decision-making process about the provision of gambling is enforced.

Role of Department of Internal Affairs And Gambling Commission

The Gambling Industry in New Zealand follows a regulatory process that is separate from the Government which profits from taxing the industry.  The Gambling Commission was established in order to keep a fair check on the industry. It has the power to cancel licenses, rule on debates, and edit license holding conditions which are overseen by the Department of Internal Affairs.

The Gambling Commission cannot change the law in New Zealand but can only regulate the pre-existing legal framework. It can provide advice on legal issues where the final call is made by the Minister of Internal Affairs and The Department of Internal Affairs.

Online Gambling And Gambling Act 2003 For Kiwis

The Gambling Act of 2003 had initially applied to brick and mortar casinos and bookmakers. Over time, with the emergence of online gambling popularity, new amendments have included newer betting choices. Today, gambling involves live betting as well as remote betting such as online poker, bingo, lotteries, casinos, and other forms of mobile betting.

These laws against online casinos and remote gambling are limited within the boundaries of New Zealand. The Kiwis are authorized to gamble for cash on overseas betting platforms which mean that punters from other countries cannot place online bets with an operator based in New Zealand. The law does not stop Kiwis to bet online but prevents other companies outside the border from any form of advertisements regarding their services in New Zealand.


The Gambling Act of 2003 was designed mainly for the protection of Kiwi punters. The security and safety of punters are of utmost priority. The Gambling Commission plays a major role in helping the Government to take disciplinary actions and providing the players with enough profit money. The Act has secured online casinos and mobile gambling over the years which has created a huge player base.

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