Gambling in New Zealand
Gambling in New Zealand is perfectly legal and is a pastime enjoyed by much of the adult population. Figures from 2012 show that the New Zealand Racing Board, the Lottery Commission, and casino and gaming machine operators, generated $2.068bn NZD in revenue between them.
The country has a unique system in place for pokies, whereby a proportion of the money gambled in pubs and clubs up and down the country is pumped back into the community. Corporate societies have been established, which own the pokies and pay venues a fixed amount to host the machines. The proceeds are then returned to the corporate societies, and community groups can apply to them for funding. Over $200 million NZD is returned to the community every year in this way, simply through the nation’s habit of playing pokies.
Playing online is also popular in New Zealand, and although it is illegal for an operator to run an online casino from within our borders, it is perfectly legal for residents of our country to play at online casinos as long as they are hosted offshore, that’s why casinos from USA or Philippines decide to operate in this country. This is written into the Gambling Act of 2003, and as such, there have been no restrictions on foreign operators developing casinos for the New Zealand market.
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New Zealand Gambling Legislation
Legislation is quite clear in New Zealand in respect of online gambling, and the Department of Internal affairs, which controls the industry here is very specific regarding prohibited activity. The DIA website states:
“The prohibition is on remote interactive gambling in New Zealand and therefore does not prohibit gaming conducted overseas. For example, it is not illegal for someone in New Zealand to participate in gambling over the internet if that website is based overseas.”
Other legislation relates to operators and advertising their services, which is illegal and carries a $5,000 penalty per offense. This restricts online casino and sportsbook operators from advertising on New Zealand TV, in newspapers or any other medium, but if a person finds a website of their own accord, they are perfectly entitled to play at it.
Liberal Stance is Good for Players
The clear and generally relaxed laws in New Zealand mean two things: Firstly that we have a wide range of options to choose from, as online casinos battle for our custom; and secondly that the New Zealand authorities have no jurisdiction over online casinos, and therefore cannot help if you fall foul of an illegal site.
Residents here can choose from hundreds of different real money casinos, and the competition means that there are plenty of bonuses to take advantage of. Most websites offer welcome promotions for new customers, where they will match your initial deposit in free bets, or provide a number of free spins on a pokie, allowing you to keep any profits. Some of these offers can run into thousands of dollars, and it’s worth shopping around for the best deals before signing up.
Other things to look out for are reputation and customer service. Reading reviews is a great way to find out about their reputation for paying out winnings and replying to customer queries. You should also find out if your preferred payment methods are accepted and how long withdrawals take to process – after all, you need to know how long you’ll be waiting for your winnings should you manage to get lucky.
We’ve got detailed reviews of the best online casinos for New Zealanders right here on this site, and we only recommend the most reputable places to play.
Safety is an important issue for online pokie enthusiasts, because residents are only permitted to play at foreign based websites. Our government has no jurisdiction over foreign operators, and can’t hold them liable for any lost or stolen customer funds.
Regulars on Vegas Slots Online will know that we always advise playing at casinos which have a verifiable track record behind them. Thankfully there are so many large operators offering their services to people here that there really is no need to frequent sites that are anything less than stellar. Always find out where the casino is licensed and how long it has held the license, read the terms and conditions of the site, and check real customer reviews to find out more about how they operate.
If that sounds like a lot of hard work, then why not peruse the casinos listed at the top of this page. Regardless of where you opt to play, we wish you the very best of luck.