Whether you are a serial high roller, a passionate Casino player, a gambling enthusiast that gets pumped up at the sight of odds, a calculative player, or a house habitué that loves risks- New Zealand’s gambling terrain offers the thrills and frills you will hardly find elsewhere.
The Department of Internal Affairs records NZ$572 million as Casino expenditure alone and $NZ843 million as gambling machines (outside Casinos) spending in 20616/2017. The numbers have increased thus far in these two main gambling activities in recent years owing to varying economic, social, and psychological factors. Nevertheless, the gambling industry contributes a staggering sum of $NZ 2 billion to the economy annually.
The gaming and gambling industry in New Zealand is a fantastic terrain to explore not just because it is hardly taxed- it’s a unique place where opportunities abound in betting and Casino games. Therefore, this guide will take you through the basics and intricacies involved in Kiwi gambling (gambling in New Zealand) and the options available for safe betting.
- Legal Status of Gambling in New Zealand
- Current Gambling Laws in Force
- Who Regulates the Country’s Gaming Industry?
- What is the Tax Situation on Winnings from Gambling?
- Attitudes to Gambling in New Zealand
- Is Gambling a Favourite Activity in New Zealand?
- How Safe is Gambling in New Zealand?
- Options and Venues Worth Exploring
- Overall Rating for New Zealand as a Gambling Nation
The country used to be one of OECD’S (The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) most regulated economies. Now, New Zealand is one of the least regulated among the global free market. But this has not extended to the gambling sector as it is still highly regulated especially in activities like slots, sports, gambling, lotteries etc. even though they are legal. In addition, online casinos are allowed in New Zealand. But if they are offshore, that makes them illegal.
Be advised that the current Gambling Act outlines penalties for participants in illegal gambling. Organizations who partake in illegal gambling shall pay the fine of $NZ50,000 and $NZ10,000 for persons who flaunt the law. Other prohibited gambling activities are gambling by a person through communication device because of distance and the advertisement of foreign gambling.
The country does not shy away from gaming innovations as long as they are within the purview of fair play. As such, playing roulette with a double ball wheel, for example, is a new type of roulette capable of giving you double excitement and more wins. It is totally legal. You can find the full interpretation of the prohibiting gambling Act here
Being a monetised and sensitive sector, there is license legislation in place to minimise risks associated with gambling, ensure responsible gaming, design a mechanism that ensures community partakes in gambling proceeds and to promote general gambling knowledge. These are provided for in the Gambling Act of 2003.
The New Zealand gambling laws have been subjected to constant change from 1977 up to 2015. The Casino Control Act of 1990 provided regulations that governed how Casinos should be run. It also stipulated a sort of betting limits for them as well. 1990 Act came before the Gaming and Lotteries Act of 1977 before it was replaced. Another specific law is the Racing Act of 2003 that presided over some racing activities, and the Boxing and Wrestling Act of 1981.
Current gambling laws in force are the Gambling Amendment Act (No 2) of 2015; Gambling Amendment Act of 2015; Gambling Amendment Act of 2005; Gambling Act of 2003; Boxing and Wrestling Act of 1981 and other regulations.
Keep in mind that New Zealand is very strict when it comes to rewards and prizes. Ensure you understand the rules of the game involved before participating. Games rules usually describe the nature of gambling prizes and consolations. In the law, specific items are not permitted to be doled out as prizes. Some of them are:
- Firearms, explosives (ammunitions too), airgun and restricted weapon.
- Tobacco products
- Taonga tuturu- a Maori cultural and historical object
- Entitlement or vouchers to commercial sexual services
- Entitlement or vouchers to any of the objects aforementioned
But landed properties like non-residential land can be offered as prizes. Second-hand goods too will pass as legit awards.
As you walk into a Casino in Auckland, Wellington, or where else in New Zealand, ensure you play by the regulations so hitting the jackpot would be for something if you are that lucky.
The Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) is the requisite body in New Zealand responsible for administering and enforcing Casino and non-Casino gambling regulations via the Gambling Commission. You should also know that there is the Gambling Compliance Group that supervises licenses, investigates, and monitor Casino activities frequently. The gambling commission is like the police on the streets of the gaming industry, and it oversees matters relating to gaming machines and non-casino gambling activities too.
There are the casinos gambling inspectors too, under the auspices of the gambling compliance group. You can find them in every casino you visit. Their job is to ensure fair, lawful, and honest gambling among other things. They should be notified if you notice exploitation or criminal activities.
Among the functions of the gambling inspector are also:
- Cooperating and liaising with the police and enforcement agencies
- Inspection of gambling equipment
- Detecting, investigating, and prosecuting vices involving cheating in gambling
- Inspection, monitoring, and auditing the counting of chips and money
- Detecting, investigating, and prosecuting offences against the 2003 Gambling Act
Got something confidential to say to a gambling inspector? You may speak to one and even lodge a formal complaint right away. The inspectors have resources at their disposal to investigate, independently, any complaint and observations.
As earlier mentioned, gambling activities are not taxed. This is one feature of the gaming and gambling sector in New Zealand which has attracted gambling enthusiasts from around the world. Considering active gaming and gambling here? Whether TAB or Lotto or Casino wins or sports betting wins- bankroll with ease knowing your eventual winnings would not be taxed. This is because the cost of placing a bet is used, in principle, together with funds that are tax paid.
However, if you plan to place bets as a professional gambler, or it is not just a ‘leisure’ activity for you, the winnings and gains you make become taxable by law. The Inland Revenue, a tax authority, defines gambling as a recreation and not as income. Hence no tax. But being a professional, gains become income, therefore taxable.
Also, citizens of the country are not legally permitted to engage in online casinos (local online casinos) but they do not have to pay tax on gains accrued from foreign online gambling sites.
Perhaps, the right question to ask is about how conservative New Zealand is rather than asking about the attitude of the populace towards gambling. Answering this will give you, as a punter, a perfect view of the state of affairs concerning gambling and gaming. Liberal countries tend to have a more diversified economy. There, gambling, gaming, alcohol beverage, call for anti-abortion laws, and sometimes sex work etc. are prominent areas and topics in the social-economic space. So what is the general perception of punting and the moral view among New Zealanders?
Attitude of Authorities
Being a relatively liberal state, New Zealand authorities do not see gambling as a fundamental problem. The government is there to make and enforce laws for the benefit of the people. The regulations are stipulated to ensure the excesses and vices that could arise through gambling are checked. Problem gambling is still a thing as it is globally- so authorities are there to provide indiscriminate wagering do not reach uncontrollable heights.
Views of Society in General
Gambling, casinos, and betting are pretty much part of the scintillating nightlife and the entertainment industry for New Zealanders. While no statistics are available to back up the claim or its denial, the general view of gambling is moderate. But the perspective of problem gambling is held with much contempt so much so that many opponents see it as a wrong approach to life. So as you get into the mix of things as regards betting, your aged neighbours will probably scorn you if they know what you are doing
According to the figures released by the Department of Internal Affairs, in 2016/2017, the number of prizes won in the Racing Board (TAB) is $NZ1, 907 million, prizes from the Lotteries Commission is $NZ652 million, and that of the Gambling Machines (outside casinos) is $NZ8, 931 million. With these vast numbers, it is hard to deny that gambling is a favourite activity with locals.
The lottery, live casinos, sports betting, and pokies (gaming machines) are the major gambling activities that people play.
In 2017, the country was ranked 1st on the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI). This suggests that New Zealand is a peaceful country with incredibly low crime and corruption rates. In a context, its transparency rating is why it is also ranked 1st in the Ease-of-doing-business list. So if you are considering opening a gambling outfit in New Zealand, it is relatively easy to set it up with minimal hassle in contrast to other developed nations. Therefore, it is quite safe to gamble and set up a gaming enterprise in New Zealand.
As earlier said, online gambling is prohibited, and any vendor caught will have his licenses revoked. But the good news is that offshore or foreign casinos are allowed under the law as stated: “The prohibition is on remote interactive gambling in New Zealand and therefore does not prohibit gambling conducted overseas. For example, it is not in any way illegal for someone for New Zealanders to wager over the Internet if the gambling platform is based overseas.”
Gambling is a historical thing here, and you might be lucky to score as many hands as you want in a preferred casino. Here are some of the land-based casinos where you can get the best betting odds for the sporting events you will like to wager on:
New Zealand has six operating casinos- SKYCITY Wharf Casino, SKYCITY Hamilton casino, SKYCITY Queenstown casino, SkyCity Auckland, Dunedin Casino, and Christchurch Casino.
There is something of a spectacle about the Auckland based SkyCity Casino. Aside from the fact that the house boasts of state of the earth gambling facilities to every punter’s delight, it is located in the tallest freestanding structure in the Southern Hemisphere. The Auckland SkyCity commands respect as regards gaming dealings as much as it offers scintillating scenery to visitors. SkyCity Casino in Hamilton provides visitors a perfect view of the Waikato River. Meanwhile, the Dunedin’s Casino is located in between the magnificent Grand Hotel which now has a Monte Carlo feel about it. Other landbased venues too offer unique, exciting treats to players and visitors coming to New Zealand for the first time or otherwise.
In choosing where to play, however, you should know that different casino games are with different house edge percentages. But such cannot be said of roulette games as they do not give the same house edge advantages like the blackjack which itself do not offer the same house edge percentages as craps or baccarat, for example. This is mainly because the percentage in question is not an arbitrary number tossed in games. Know that house edge rates are calculated according to different betting alternatives and odds peculiar to every game in the casino. This suggests that if an individual selects a particular betting option, they can effectively reduce the house edge percentage.
The minimum age required for persons entering the bar in New Zealand is 20.
Offshore online casinos like SpinPalace, Jackpot City, Betfair, and Nigh Rush are some of the famous foreign gambling centres familiar with New Zealanders.
Granted that no place in New Zealand can be compared with Paris, Las Vegas, Monte Carlo, or Macau, it offers a perfect level playing ground for punters given its transparency and low-crime reputations. Considering gambling’s steady growth over the years, this sector of the entertainment industry has considerable potentials to attract global attention to the country. And given its tax-free policy on winnings, it is a win for everyone. New Zealand is indeed a decent destination for gamblers.
While New Zealand might not always be the first choice for those seeking a gambling mecca, there is still a healthy range of gambling activities taking place in this part of the world. For this reason, we would have to give New Zealand a credible 3.5 out of 5 taking into account its tax-free status on gambling.
Expenditure recorded on gambling alone, considering players’ losses, is $NZ2.034 billion as of 2008. Gambling in New Zealand is a massive part of the entertainment sector now, and it will be so in years to come. Treat yourself to the most breathtaking games you can encounter as you take on the best betting deals. New Zealand is ready. Are you?