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NZ Gambling Act 2003: Everything You Need to Know

New Zealand has long been associated with a thriving gambling industry, with the sector contributing significantly to the country's economy. In fact, the gambling market in New Zealand is estimated to be worth over 2.5 billion dollars annually. With such a substantial economic impact, it comes as no surprise that the NZ Gambling Act 2003 plays a vital role in establishing the rules and guidelines for gambling activities. Want to know more? In this article, we'll explore the basics of the New Zealand Gambling Act 2003, including the types of legal betting in New Zealand, online gambling laws, and age restrictions. Let's go!

Written By:   William Patel     Facts Checked By:   Ferne Walter 

Contents on this page


  • 1.

    The NZ Gambling Act 2003 is the main legislation governing gambling in our beautiful country

  • 2.

    There are four classes of legal betting in New Zealand

  • 3.

    Playing online is allowed on offshore websites only

  • 4.

    NZ-based online casinos basically don’t exist

Overview of the NZ Gambling Act 2003

The Gambling Act is the main piece of legislation governing gambling in New Zealand. The act was introduced to regulate gambling and ensure that it is conducted in a fair and transparent manner. The act sets out the rules for different types of gambling activities, including casino games, lotteries, and sports betting. It also outlines the roles and responsibilities of gambling operators and regulatory bodies.

Activity 2021 $M
TAB New Zealand $385
Lotteries $694
Gaming Machines (outside casinos) $987
Land-Based Casinos $559
TOTAL $2,625

While the Gambling Act has undergone amendments since its initial passage, particularly in 2005 and 2015, the core statutes remain unchanged. These revisions aim to refine and adapt the legislation to address the evolving landscape of the gambling industry.

Four Classes of Legal Betting in New Zealand

Under the NZ Gambling Act 2003, there are four classes of legal betting in New Zealand. Let’s take a look:

Class 1:

Class 1 includes games where the total amount of money wagered is less than $500 and where the profits are either donated to charity or used for non-commercial purposes. Examples of Class 1 gambling include raffles, housie, and sweepstakes.

Class 2:

Class 2 gambling allows prizes up to $5000 and a potential turnover in one session not exceeding $25,000. It must be run by a society for authorised purposes, and consumer information must be clear at the point of sale. No licence is required, but the relevant game rules must be followed.

Class 3:

This class includes casino games that are played in licenced casinos. This includes games such as blackjack, roulette, and poker. Class 3 gambling is associated with prizes that exceed a total value of NZ$5,000.

The NZ Gambling Act 2003 sets out strict rules for casinos, including requirements for staff training, the use of electronic monitoring systems, and the prevention of problem gambling.

Class 4:

Class 4 gambling refers to any activity that involves the use of gaming machines outside of a casino setting. These gaming machines are typically found in locations such as pubs, clubs, and other establishments throughout New Zealand.

In Class 4 gambling, the operation and management of gaming machines are restricted to corporate societies. These societies are non-profit organisations that are authorised to conduct gambling activities with the primary purpose of raising funds for specific authorised purposes. These purposes often include charitable, philanthropic, or community-based initiatives.

Online Gambling & New Zealand’s Gambling Act 2003

The New Zealand Gambling Act 2003 has undergone amendments to encompass not only land-based casinos and bookmakers but also all ‘remote gambling activities’. This means that the law now applies to online gambling in New Zealand as well.

Keep in mind that the New Zealand Gambling Act 2003 specifically addresses online gambling activities that take place within the country. As a result, Kiwis can engage in online gambling activities, including playing casino games and placing bets, on offshore websites.

It may seem strange, but Kiwis are not allowed to play with New Zealand-based operators, only overseas ones.

The law does not prohibit New Zealanders from participating in online gambling activities offered by offshore operators. Therefore, it is completely fine for Kiwis to place real-money bets on offshore websites. However, the Gambling Act prevents those companies from advertising on our market.

So, Are Online Casinos Legal In New Zealand?

The legal status of offshore online casinos in New Zealand exists in a grey area. While the New Zealand Gambling Act 2003 does not explicitly address offshore online casinos, it is good to know that these operators are not technically legal within the country. However, they are also not explicitly considered illegal.

offshore online casinos are legal in new zealand

New Zealand’s gambling laws primarily focus on regulating domestic gambling activities and providing a framework for licenced operators within the country. As we said before, the law does not specifically prohibit Kiwis from accessing and playing at offshore online casinos.

New Zealand Lottery

The New Zealand lottery is operated by the New Zealand Lotteries Commission, which is a Crown entity. The commission offers many lottery games, including LottoPowerball, and Instant Kiwi. The profits from the lottery are used to fund a range of community initiatives, including sports and arts programs.

To participate in the New Zealand Lottery, individuals must be at least 18 years old. Tickets can be purchased from authorised retailers across the country as well as online through the official lottery website.

Age Restrictions

Under the NZ Gambling Act 2003, the legal gambling age in New Zealand is 18 years old. This applies to all forms of gambling except land-based casinos, where you need to be over 20.

Might be interesting: Want to read more about the casino age in New Zealand? Check out our guide here!

Final Thoughts

The NZ Gambling Act 2003 is the main legislation governing gambling in New Zealand, aiming to regulate the industry and ensure fairness. It has been amended over the years to adapt to changes in the gambling landscape.

There are four classes of legal betting in New Zealand, including Class 1 for low-stakes games, Class 2 for limited prise and turnover amounts, Class 3 for casino games with higher prises, and Class 4 for gaming machines outside of casinos.

We also recommend you check out our guides to the best payout casinos and instant withdrawal casino sites.

Author William Patel

NZ Casino Manager

I’m William Patel, and I’m thrilled to be your senior content manager at CasinoFastPayout NZ. I live in Auckland. I love spending quality time with my friends and family.