Online Gambling in NZ: Here’s What You Need to Know

Robert Longthorpe - Senior Writer
Robert Longthorpe
28 June 2022 in Features

Kiwis love to take a flutter, and they have the numbers to prove it. Gambling reports from 2020 show that the equivalent of every adult New Zealander spent $572, and the figures continue to climb.

Long lockdowns resulting from the global pandemic saw more people than ever seek their fortune at online casinos and betting sites. And while brick-and-mortar casinos are now open for business once more, players aren’t giving up their online gambling entertainment so quickly.

They appreciate the flexibility and convenience of playing their favorite casino games from any location and at any time of the day or night. They love the idea of being able to play in their tracksuits if they feel like it. What’s more, there’s no denying the thrill of being able to play anything from pokies to roulette, from video poker to blackjack all under one virtual roof.

The long and the short of it is that online gambling in New Zealand is here to stay. But what does it actually entail? What are the laws and regulations governing Kiwi online casinos?

If you want to be part of the exciting world of NZ online gambling, here is what you need to know.

Gambling in NZ’s Not So Distant Past

To understand online gambling in this jurisdiction and playing at real money casinos, you need to get a better understanding of where it all started.

Gambling first became legal in 1835 when betting on horses was legalized. Unfortunately, that was a short-lived pleasure for gambling fans, when the Gaming and Lotteries Act was passed in 1881, outlawing all gambling until 1932 when the first state-run lotteries were authorized.

In 1971, the Racing Act regulated and made legal horse and greyhound racing betting. This opened the doors for the passing of the 1977 Gaming and Lotteries Act which allowed private companies to offer gambling activities.

A series of casino acts followed in the 90s, all leading up to the Gambling Act of 2003, which introduced regulations on the casino sector.

Which types of gambling are legal in New Zealand

  • Lottery
  • Bingo
  • Casino games
  • Gaming machines (pokies)
  • Lottery
  • Instant games
  • Scratch cards
  • Keno
  • Sports betting

What does the 2003 Gambling Act say about Online Gambling at Casinos?

Basically nothing. In fact, there are no laws dedicated specifically to New Zealand online gambling.

What the law does say is that it is not legal for operators to provide online gambling domestically. There are a few exceptions to this rule, since Lotto NZ and TAB have online casino games.

What that means for NZ gamblers, however, is that there is no law in place banning them from playing at offshore websites which serve local players.

Most of these sites are licensed and regulated by foreign gambling jurisdictions and offer safe and fair gambling environments for local players.

Those offshore online casinos serving the NZ public allow players to pay in New Zealand Dollars and use banking methods with which they’re familiar.

Who’s the legal gambling authority in NZ?

The body that’s responsible for regulating most forms of gambling in New Zealand is the country’s Department of Internal Affairs. The authority issues most types of gambling licenses.

The entity which examines license applications for casinos and ultimately decides whether to approve them or not is the New Zealand Gambling Commission.

When it comes to the lottery, licensing is done by the Lotteries Commission and Lotto NZ.


The Income Tax Act stresses that gambling winnings are not subject to taxation. The only exception to this law is if you’re a professional poker player who makes a living from winning prizes at poker tournaments or games.

If you want to play at a brick-and-mortar casino, you need to be at least 20 years of age. All other forms of gambling require that you be at least 18 years of age.

No. It is only illegal for domestic NZ operators to target local players. There is no law which prevents you from placing a bet at an offshore New Zealand online casino.

Yes, you can. Bonuses are offered in the form of welcome packages to new players who sign up to the site. Most online casinos also offer loyalty points, reload bonuses, cashbacks and free spins.

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