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A look at the regulatory landscape of online casinos in New Zealand

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As online gambling continues to grow in countries like the United States, many people benefit from being able to play their favorite casino games remotely. Instead of traveling to the closest land-based casino, operators now have dedicated mobile apps that allow you to play slots or roulette at your fingertips. However, this activity is not legal everywhere, and, in some countries, it is not clear what type of gambling activity is permitted online and what isn’t.

New Zealand is one country that falls into the category of unclear online gambling laws. Although it is illegal for online gambling to be provided domestically, except from approved domestic operators (Lotto NZ and the TAB), it is legal for residents to gamble on offshore websites. However, offshore gambling sites are not regulated, so there is a risk you won’t be protected. This means if you win money and request a withdrawal but don’t receive it, you may lose that money.

With the legal status around certain online gambling activities in New Zealand unclear, let’s look at how things stand from a regulatory viewpoint in NZ.

Is online gambling legal in New Zealand?

New Zealand allows certain forms of online gambling. Sports betting, lotteries, and racing make up the main segments of online gambling that are specifically legal. These fall under the Totalisator Agency Board, a division of the New Zealand Racing Board.

Similar to Australia’s Gambling Act, the one in New Zealand only covers forms of gambling that occur within the country’s border. This includes hosting online betting sites and promoting them over the Internet and other forms of media. It is believed that this rule is not enforceable against gambling sites that accept New Zealand players but don’t operate in the country.

Consequently, if you are looking for the best online casino in NZ or the best sports betting and poker sites, they are available to New Zealanders. This includes well-known sportsbooks such as William Hill, Bet365, and Ladbrokes. These sites provide users with a comprehensive menu of sports betting, online poker, and casino games.

New Zealand Gambling Act

The Gambling Act covers online betting in New Zealand. It was approved in 2003 and prohibited most forms of gambling. Additionally, the Gambling Act also forbids any expansion of gambling beyond what was available in 2003. This applies to the expansion of existing and addition of new casinos and also covers gaming over the Internet if the activity has not been specifically authorized.

The New Zealand Racing Board is exempt from this section of the Gambling Act. The Gambling Act also doesn’t allow the issuing of credit to gamblers.

Ultimately it is legal to bet online in New Zealand. TAB operates the only online sports betting site in the country, with many other operators offering sports betting services from other countries online. Online casino games must be played at offshore sites, but this can pose problems for players as they are not protected.

Story by Luke Windsor

augusta free press
augusta free press