new zealand gambling law

The regulation of gambling activities is a key element that helps to protect individuals and society from the potential harms associated with excessive gambling. The New Zealand Gambling Act 2003 is one of those laws put in place to regulate gambling operations in the country.

Although this act has undergone several amendments over the years, it still provides a framework for the responsible and controlled conduct of gambling activities within the nation. In this post, we’re going to look at several aspects including the key provisions and implications of the New Zealand Gambling Act 2003 for Kiwi players.

Purpose of the Gambling Act 2003

The New Zealand Gambling Act 2003, born from the extensive legislative journey that commenced with the Gambling Bill of 2002, was crafted with a clear and multifaceted purpose in mind. This purpose has remained central to the act’s guiding principles and overarching objectives.

While it continues to evolve to address the ever-changing dynamics of the online casinos in New Zealand, its objectives remain constant.

Responsible Gambling

At its core, the act was designed to promote responsible gambling practices within New Zealand. It recognizes that gambling can be an enjoyable form of entertainment but also acknowledges the potential for harm that can arise from excessive or problematic gambling behavior. To address this, the NZ Gambling Act contains provisions aimed at minimizing harm to Kiwis and communities.

Harm Minimization

As mentioned earlier, the NZ Gambling Act is bent on reducing any harm associated with gambling activities. It places a strong emphasis on reducing the negative social, economic, and health consequences that can result from gambling-related issues.

The act does this through a range of harm prevention and support measures

Regulatory Framework

The act establishes a comprehensive regulatory framework for the gambling industry in New Zealand. It provides a structured system for licensing and oversight, ensuring that all forms of gambling, from casinos to gaming machines, are conducted in a controlled and transparent manner.

Since its inception, this act has proven to maintain the integrity of the gambling industry through the meticulous efforts put in place.

Legitimizing the Industry

The New Zealand Gambling Act of 2003 also serves the purpose of legitimizing the gambling industry in New Zealand. Providing clear rules and regulations ensures that gambling operators operate within the bounds of the law. This not only fosters public trust but also generates revenue for community initiatives through licensing fees and taxes.

Classes of Gambling in New Zealand

The New Zealand gambling industry is defined by a structured classification system that categorizes gambling activities into distinct classes. This classification, as outlined in the New Zealand Gambling Act 2003, plays a key role in regulating and overseeing the wide range of gambling activities within the country.

It classifies gambling into four classes, based on the amount of money spent and the risk of problem gambling associated with an activity. The four classes of gambling are:

Class 1 Gambling

This is the lowest-risk type of gambling, with prizes and turnover limited to $500. Class 1 gambling can be conducted by individuals or societies, and it is typically used to raise money for charitable or community purposes.

It includes activities where the stakes are minimal, and the potential for harm is low. This class is subject to minimal regulatory oversight and does not require a license due to the low-risk nature of the activities involved.

Examples of Class 1 gambling include raffles, house, and bingo.

Class 2 Gambling

Class 2 gambling represents a step up in scale and complexity. It includes activities with slightly higher stakes and greater potential for returns.

This is also a relatively low-risk type of gambling, with prizes limited to $5,000 and turnover limited to $25,000. Here, only societies are free to conduct Class 2 gambling can be conducted by societies. The purpose of this class gambling is usually to raise money for charity or the community.

Examples of Class 2 gambling include lotteries and sports betting.

Class 3 Gambling

Class 3 gambling encompasses commercial gambling activities on a larger scale. This is a higher-risk type of gambling, with prizes and turnover exceeding $5,000. Only licensed operators are allowed to conduct Class 3 gambling.

As such, operators involved in Class 3 gambling must obtain licenses from the Gambling Commission. It includes activities such as casino gambling, racing gambling, and online gambling.

Class 4 Gambling

Class 4 gambling is primarily focused on gaming machines, commonly referred to as “pokies.” It is separate from Class 2 and is regulated by local authorities and the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA).

Class 4 gambling can only be conducted by licensed operators, and it is subject to strict regulations. This is also the highest-risk type of gambling, with gaming machines outside of casinos being the most common example.

Prohibited Types of Gambling

While New Zealand has a well-defined regulatory framework for various classes of gambling activities, it’s equally important to understand the types of gambling that are strictly prohibited under the New Zealand Gambling Act 2003.

These prohibitions are in place to maintain the integrity of the gambling industry and protect Kiwis and communities from potential harm. Here are the key types of gambling that are expressly prohibited in New Zealand:

Unauthorized Online Gambling

Engaging in online gambling with offshore operators that are not licensed by the New Zealand government is strictly prohibited.  This is clearly stated in Section 9(1a) of the Act which prohibits gambling not “authorized by or under the Act”.

The act aims to regulate and control online gambling activities within its borders, ensuring that operators adhere to responsible gambling practices and consumer protection measures.

Promoting Overseas Gambling Services

Section 16 of the Gambling Act 2003 prohibits the advertisement of overseas gambling services to Kiwis in New Zealand unless authorized by New Zealand law. This means that advertising or promoting overseas gambling services to New Zealand residents without proper authorization is illegal.

However, there are limited exceptions to this prohibition one of such being a health message concerning gambling. More exemptions are clearly documented in the Act.

Remote Interactive Gambling

Section 9(2b)of the Gambling Act 2003 explicitly states that it is illegal for overseas-based gambling operators to provide remote interactive gambling services to individuals in New Zealand unless they are authorized by New Zealand law.


  • plus-expand.svg What is the New Zealand Gambling Act 2003?

    The New Zealand Gambling Act 2003 is a piece of legislation that regulates gambling activities within New Zealand. It provides the legal framework for licensing, oversight, and responsible conduct of gambling.

  • plus-expand.svg What are the classes of gambling in New Zealand?

    New Zealand categorizes gambling into four classes: Class 1, Class 2, Class 3, and Class 4. Each class has its own set of regulations and licensing requirements.

  • plus-expand.svg Can I gamble online in New Zealand?

    Yes, online gambling is permitted in New Zealand, but it is regulated. Offshore online operators must obtain a New Zealand license to offer their services to residents.

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