Online gambling laws vary greatly worldwide, and understanding them can be a complex task. For New Zealand residents, the legal framework around online gambling is specific and unique. This article aims to clarify what is legal and what is illegal when it comes to online gambling in New Zealand.
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Last updated: 6 February 2024
The Gambling Act 2003
The primary legislation governing gambling in New Zealand is the Gambling Act 2003. According to this Act:
- It’s illegal to operate an online casino from within New Zealand. This means that no business can run an online casino on New Zealand soil.
- New Zealand residents can legally gamble on offshore online casinos. The Act doesn’t prohibit New Zealanders from gambling on online casinos that operate from outside the country.
Legal Forms of Online Gambling
Given the restrictions of the Gambling Act 2003, the following forms of online gambling are legal for NZ residents:
- Offshore Online Casinos: As long as the online casino operates outside New Zealand, residents can legally play casino games like slots, poker, blackjack, and more.
- Sports Betting: The New Zealand Racing Board operates the TAB (Totalisator Agency Board), which offers online sports betting to New Zealand residents.
- Lotteries: Lotto NZ runs the national lottery, and tickets can be purchased online.
Illegal Forms of Online Gambling
The following forms of online gambling are illegal in NZ under the Gambling Act 2003:
- Local Online Casinos: Operating an online casino within New Zealand is illegal. Any online casino that claims to be based in New Zealand should be avoided.
- Advertising Offshore Gambling: While it’s legal for New Zealanders to play on offshore online casinos, it’s illegal for overseas gambling operators to advertise their services to New Zealand residents.
In New Zealand, the legalities of online gambling revolve around the location of the operation. While online casinos based within the country are illegal, New Zealand residents can legally participate in online gambling activities offered by offshore operators. However, it’s essential for players to ensure that any offshore casino they use is regulated by a reputable gambling authority to ensure fair and safe play. As always, responsible gambling should be a priority, regardless of the legality of the game.