The Legality of Online Gambling in New Zealand
Gambling in New Zealand is controlled by the Department of Internal Affairs. The varying gambling types were governed by different legal statuses in the past. For instance, bookmaking was declared illegal in 1920, and it was after the introduction of the Totalizator Agency Board in 1961 that horse racing betting was made legal.
Today, gambling in New Zealand is governed by the Gambling Act 2003. The Act outlines four classes of legal betting with anything else not identified within these parameters being termed illegal. The classes include:
- Class 1 and 2 that include games with no commission (Class 1 applies to games with prizes with less than $500 while class 2 with games with prizes under $5000).
- Class 3-games with prizes over $5000 (this class requires commission and a gambling license to operate).
- Class 4 includes gaming machines out of casinos.
Popular Betting Markets in New Zealand
New Zealand has four major betting markets:
- Rugby Union
When it comes to sports, Cricket and Rugby union form the national games in New Zealand with rugby drawing more spectators within the country, but both games have a huge international following. The two top the list of betting in New Zealand.
Netball has enjoyed a high profile in New Zealand as a result of the success of its National Women Team in addition to the trans-Tasman ANZ Championship that was introduced in 2008. Netball, Cricket and Rugby Union betting markets can also be found at top online bookmarkers—but these are based overseas.
Types of Gambling Available in New Zealand
Only the gambling types specified in the 2003 Gambling Act are allowed in New Zealand. They include bingo, lottery, instant games, and casino.
While online gambling is prohibited in the country, the Department of Internal Affairs stipulates that New Zealand residents can participate in online gambling on sites based on other countries.
Bingo commonly referred to as housie in New Zealand is legal and is also prominent. Bingo is regulated by Gambling Act, for instance, the Act stipulates that the prize may be in cash alone. The game can be conducted as either class one or two without the operating license provided that the prize doesn’t exceed the set amounts.
Poker is allowed in the country and can be played in casinos that are licensed to operate or as class 1, 2 or 3 games. The Gambling Act has set specific rules for the numerous types of poker.
Lottery games vary depending on the prizes and can be either class 1, 2, or 3. Class 3 games and operators will need a license. New Zealand has a national lottery that is operated by the Lotteries Commission. The commission has an online site where online play for both scratch card and numeric lotteries is available.
While these gambling activities are legal in New Zealand, the government doesn’t offer licenses to operators. New Zealand residents are allowed to take part in these games as long as they are based on sites from overseas. The government makes it clear that they will not provide any gambling participants with any legal protection.