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Gambling in New Zealand is illegal unless it is authorised by or under the Gambling Act 2003. In addition to this rule there are certain forms of gambling that are specifically prohibited under the Act:

  • Remote Interactive Gambling Prohibited
  • Advertising Overseas Gambling Prohibited
  • Prohibited Gambling Excerpts of the Gambling Act 2003
The Gambling Act classifies gambling into 4 classes (other than gambling conducted by casinos and the New Zealand Lotteries Commission). Each of the first three classes specifies different maximum prizes and turnover as well as who can conduct the gambling and whether a licence is needed.

Gambling activities that fall outside of these specifications are prohibited forms of gambling

Class 1

Casino In ZeelandClass 1 gambling cannot have a prize or turnover greater than $500. All proceeds from the gambling (including interest), if conducted by an individual, must be applied to the winners. Only Class 1 gambling can be conducted by individuals.

Class 2

Class 2 gambling must have prizes with a total value between $500 and $5,000. The potential turnover from the gambling must exceed $500 but cannot exceed $25,000. This class of gambling does not require a licence but it must be conducted by
societies as defined in the Gambling Act.

Class 3 and 4

Class 3 gambling must have prizes with a total value exceeding $5,000. Class 4 gambling usually refers to gambling that utilises gaming machines. It is prohibited for classes 3 and 4 gambling to be conducted without a licence.

For detailed information on the requirements of the different classes of gambling, please refer to sections 22 to 31 of the Gambling Act 2003.

Remote Interactive Gambling Prohibited

Section 9(2)(b) of the Gambling Act 2003 prohibits remote interactive gambling. The definition of remote interactive gambling includes 'gambling by a person at a distance by interaction through a communication device.'
Communication devices include such things as computers, telephones, radios and similar devices. To fall into the definition of gambling the participant must pay something to participate (directly or indirectly) and there must be an element of chance in order to win money or a prize. The prohibition would include selling lottery tickets on the Internet and would also include a New Zealand casino website.
There are several exemptions to this general rule:
  • Sales promotions in the form of a lottery and conducted in New Zealand are excluded from the ban on remote interactive gambling. However, sales promotions that are not lotteries may fall under the definition of remote interactive gambling.
  • The Lotteries Commission and the Racing Board can conduct approved forms of remote interactive gambling.
The Department has compiled a list of Frequently Asked QuestionsCasino about remote interactive gambling. These have been designed for companies who are unclear if the promotion they are wishing to conduct is prohibited under the Gambling Act.
The prohibition is on remote interactive gambling in New Zealand and therefore does not prohibit gambling 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. However, you should be aware of the dangers such gambling can involve. Giving details of your personal and financial information over the Internet can expose yourself to potential fraud or unsolicited correspondence. If the website is based overseas, your legal protections if you are a victim of fraud are dependant upon the legal system of the host country. If you are not sure of the legality of a website and the protections afforded, do not use it.
As technology changes the types of communication devices, and the ways of gambling, may change. These will be considered on a case-by-case basis against the definitions above to ensure they do not fall into the definition of remote interactive gambling.
The Gambling Act provides for penalties for anybody who participates in unauthorised gambling. Fines can be imposed of up to $50,000 for organisations and up to $10,000 for individuals. This includes anybody participating in remote interactive gambling and anybody who conducts the gambling.
For more information see Fact Sheet 27: Remote Interactive Gambling and Advertising Overseas Gambling

Advertising Overseas Gambling Prohibited

Advertising overseas gambling is prohibited under section 16 of the Gambling Act 2003. An overseas gambling advertisement is any communication that publicises or promotes gambling, or a gambling operator, when that gambling, or operator, is outside New Zealand. It is also any communication that is reasonably likely to induce people to gamble outside New Zealand. Section 16 makes this an offence under the Gambling Act and carries a fine of up to $10,000.
There are some exceptions to this rule including:
  • When the promotion of the gambling or the gambling operator is merely incidental to the purpose of the communication, for example, a tourism advertisement that mentions a casino in a city
  • Advertisements intended for the promotion of gambling equipment intended only for buyers of gambling equipment
  • Advertisements or messages intended to prevent, minimise or treat harm including health messages concerning gambling.
For more information see Fact Sheet 27: Remote Interactive Gambling and Advertising Overseas Gambling

Prohibited Gambling Excerpts of the Gambling Act 2003

The following relevant sections of the Gambling Act 2003 are listed here for your convenience. A full copy of the Act and background history is available here: Gambling Act 2003
Casino In Zeeland9.Gambling Prohibited
    (1) Gambling is prohibited and illegal unless it is-
    (a) authorised by or under this Act and complies with this Act and any relevant licence, game rules, and minimum standards; or
    (b) authorised by or under the Racing Act 2003 and complies with that Act and any regulations made under it; or
    (c) private gambling.
    (2) The following types of gambling are prohibited and illegal and are not authorised by and may not be authorised under this Act:
    (a) bookmaking:
    (b) remote interactive gambling
4. Interpretation
  • remote interactive gambling
    (a) includes gambling by a person at a distance by interaction through a communication device; but
    (b) does not include-
    (i) gambling promoted by the Lotteries Commission; or
    (ii) gambling authorised under the Racing Act 2003; or
    (iii) gambling by a person in New Zealand conducted by a gambling operator located outside New Zealand; or
    (iv) a sales promotion scheme that is in the form of a lottery and is conducted in New Zealand
    For further information see: Remote Interactive Gambling FAQs (designed for companies who are unclear if the promotion they are wishing to conduct is prohibited under the Gambling Act).
  • communication device means a machine, device, or thing for communicating at a distance and using any technology (including telecommunication, radiocommunication, and broadcasting technology)
  • gambling
    (a) means paying or staking consideration, directly or indirectly, on the outcome of something seeking to win money when the outcome depends wholly or partly on chance; and
    (b) includes a sales promotion scheme; and
    (c) includes bookmaking; and
    (d) includes betting, paying, or staking consideration on the outcome of a sporting event; but
    (e) does not include an act, behaviour, or transaction that is declared not to be gambling by regulations made under section 368
  • society means an association of persons established and conducted entirely for purposes other than commercial purposes

s.16. Advertising overseas gambling prohibited
    (1) A person must not publish or arrange to publish, in New Zealand, an overseas gambling advertisement.
    (2) Subsection (1) does not apply to publishing or arranging to publish-
    (a) a health message concerning gambling; or
    (b) an advertisement for services to prevent, minimise, or treat harm; or
    (c) a message about preventing, minimising, or treating harm; or
    (d) an advertisement for gambling equipment intended for distribution only to buyers of gambling equipment; or
    (e) an overseas gambling advertisement in which the publicising or promotion of gambling or a gambling operator is incidental to the purpose of the advertisement.
Casino in zeeland ohio
    overseas gambling advertisement means a form of communication that-
    (a) publicises or promotes gambling that is outside New Zealand or a gambling operator who is outside New Zealand; or
    (b) is reasonably likely to induce persons to gamble outside New Zealand

Return to the Gambling Act 2003 page

Casino In Zeeland Ny

A pokie machine in a New Zealand pub.

Gambling in New Zealand is controlled by the Department of Internal Affairs. All public gambling is expected to return a portion of profits to the community. The largest proportion of the gambling industry is operated by state-owned institutions. Expenditure on gambling (losses experienced by players) was $NZ 2.034 billion in 2008 ($NZ 480 per capita), a tenfold increase over 1985 figures.[1]

Horse racing[edit]

Bookmaking was declared illegal in New Zealand in 1920.[2] From then until the introduction of the Totalizator Agency Board (TAB) in 1961, betting on racing was only available on-course.


The first 'Art Union' was conducted in New Zealand by the Otago Art Society in December 1877,[3] Both individuals and organizations subsequently used them as a way of raising funds.The first national lotteries were established in 1933. They were known as 'Art Unions'. Prizes were relatively small, and in the early Art Unions the prizes were quantities of alluvial gold. As an example, the 'Golden Treasure' Art Union of 1935 had 200,000 tickets with a top prize of £2000 ranging down to an 11th prize of £20 plus 400 prizes of £2.[4] The low returns tempted many people to (illegally) purchase tickets in overseas lotteries such as the Australian Tattersall's lottery. With Art Union sales declining, a review of lotteries was undertaken by the Second Labour Government in the late 1950s, and in 1961 the National Government introduced the Golden Kiwi lottery.[5]

The New Zealand Lotteries Commission was established in 1987. Its original product, Lotto, has since been supplemented by Instant Kiwiscratch cards, daily Keno and a Lotto variant named Big Wednesday. Lotto tickets became available online in 2008.

The Totalizator Agency Board, commonly called the TAB, is a sports betting organisation run by the New Zealand Racing Board.



Introduced in 1987, slot machines, commonly known as 'pokies', are operated by charitable foundations and are mostly placed in hotels and bars. Maximum jackpots are regulated. In the year ending 30 June 2008, turnover was $10.096 billion, of which $9.158 billion was returned as prizes (player losses were $938 million). These figures represent a 9% decrease from the peak year of 2004. Pokies accounted for 46.1% of gambling expenditure (losses) in 2008.[1]The year to 30 June 2009 saw a further 5% fall in expenditure, to $889 million. There were 19,479 machines in 1,501 venues operated by 384 licensees, all of these figures being a decrease from 2008.[6]

Since 1 July 2009, all machines must have Player Information Displays, which inform the gambler how long they have been playing, how much they have lost, and which encourage them to take breaks.[6]

A 2010 study linked the prevalence of slot machines with high crime levels.[citation needed]

In May 2013 the Government announced it would allow casino SkyCity Auckland to install an additional 230 pokie machines and 40 new gambling tables, in exchange for a $402 million convention centre.[7][8]


There are six casinos operating in New Zealand, the first of which opened in 1994:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ ab'GAMBLING EXPENDITURE STATISTICS 1984-2008'(PDF). Department of Internal Affairs. Retrieved 1 July 2009.
  2. ^'Gambling: An Economically Significant Industry'. Statistics New Zealand. September 1999. Archived from the original on 4 May 2009.
  3. ^See Grey River Argus, 20 Dec 1877, page 2)
  4. ^'Golden Treasure Art Union Results'. The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 10, Issue 5. NZ Electronic Text Centre. 1 August 1935.
  5. ^NZ - first Golden kiwi Lottery
  6. ^ ab'Pokie machine spending down to seven-year low'. NZPA. 14 July 2009. Retrieved 14 July 2009.
  7. ^'SkyCity convention centre set to create 800 jobs - Joyce'. TV NZ. 13 May 2013. Archived from the original on 10 June 2013.
  8. ^'SkyCity's pokie full house'. 13 May 2013.

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Further reading[edit]

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  • Curtis, Bruce (2002) Gambling in New Zealand Dunmore Press ISBN0-86469-404-0

External links[edit]

Casino In Zeeland Michigan

  • Gambling information page at the Department of Internal Affairs
  • Gaming policy - Department of Internal Affairs
  • New Zealand wants to regulate offshore casinos - New Zealand Government wants to regulate online gambling with overseas providers!
  • Gambling Act 2003 - text of the Act
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