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Are you curious about gambling in New Zealand? Then you’re in the right place! The country has surprisingly strict gambling laws, where in-country gambling is considered illegal except for a few exceptions, but the good news is that this doesn’t apply to online gambling as long as the casino is based overseas! This means you can gamble online as a New Zealand player, without breaking the law, and we are here to tell you all you need to know about it.
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Our goal is to help you gamble legally also when in New Zealand, and to assist you in finding sites based outside the country so that you, too, can join the online fun. A good online casino should be licensed by an agency such as the Malta Gaming Authority or the UKGC (United Kingdom Gambling Commission), and we are here to help you find the best site for you.
The following selection of top sites was chosen with multiple criteria in mind, such as payment methods that suit New Zealand players, mobile casinos with apps for you to take your gambling with you wherever you go, good customer service and adequate security features.
Gambling statistics for 2020 showed that more people than ever were gambling in New Zealand, despite the strict gambling rules, which indicates that more and more players are finding their way to trustworthy, foreign gambling sites. Are you ready to start gambling on the internet? Make sure you read this guide to get the most out of your experience.
Is Gambling Legal in New Zealand?
When you want to gamble and you happen to live in New Zealand, then there are many things you need to be aware of first. Unless the gambling type is approved by the Gambling Act 2003, most (and close to all) gambling is illegal in New Zealand. The gambling that is allowed is controlled by the Department of Internal Affairs, and it is part of an existing law that any permitted gambling activity should somehow benefit (or give back) to the community.
Before we proceed, let us bring you the good news! While online gambling falls under what is considered illegal in New Zealand, it doesn’t apply to offshore gambling sites. And, since most of the biggest online casinos are based elsewhere such as in Europe, you can safely and legally join and gamble on these sites.
As long as the online gambling site you choose isn’t based in New Zealand, you can safely and legally gamble, but you might want to gain a better understanding of what type of gambling activities are and aren’t prohibited within the country. The gambling types still allowed are divided into four different classes.
Class 1 gambling is the only gambling class that an individual can conduct, and in this scenario, all winnings generated during the game needs to go to the winner, and this includes any type of interest or other fees. The maximum amount you are allowed to set as a prize, while still keeping it legal, is $500. The same amount applies for the turnover.
Class 2 gambling cannot and should not be conducted by an individual, and can instead only be run by what the Gambling Act considers a society. The value of the prize must fall between $500 and $5,000, and any other amount cannot be considered class 2 gambling. The gambling turnover may not be more than $25,000 and no less than $500.
Class 3 gambling requires a gambling licence, and you cannot legally hold a class 3 gambling activity without having first been licensed. The prize value for these types of gambling activity, and for it to be classified as a class 3 act, needs to be higher than a total of $5,000.
Class 4 needs to meet the same requirements as class 3, both in terms of having a gambling licence and the total price being $5,000 or more, but it usually refers to gambling performed on some type of machine or device.
The Gambling Act 2003 also specifically prohibits any gambling done remotely, which essentially refers to online gambling at or through establishments based in New Zealand. The law put a halt to at least one New Zealand online casino, and you can get a hefty fine for breaking these regulations in any way.
As a result, it is important that you—as a New Zealand player—always verify that your chosen online casino is based somewhere else. Most of the sites you come across, if not all, will be, but it is always better to be safe than sorry so that you don’t accidentally end up on an illegal gambling site.
Keep in mind that if you were to find a New Zealand casino operating illegally, this site won’t be regulated or licensed the way that it should be, and it would present a risk to you, your personal information and your money to utilise it, while also risking legal trouble. Always stick to offshore gambling sites as a gambler in New Zealand.
It is clearly stated in the Gambling Act 2003 that online gambling at foreign casinos is allowed, but that you cannot expect any help or assistance from the New Zealand government if you were to become a victim of fraud or any other crime as a result. Instead, you would depend on receiving help from the country in which the casino is based.
This doesn’t mean the New Zealand government and local laws will never step in and help, and it is simply a caution that they might not in the case of a crime committed against you as a result of online gambling.
Online Gambling Advertising
While you can legally gamble at online casinos overseas, any type of advertisement for offshore gambling sites is strictly prohibited in New Zealand. Purposely attempting to promote online gambling is also banned, and if unlucky, it could lead to fines of up to the amount of $10,000.
Advertisement to prevent or discourage online gambling overseas is allowed, and there are a few additional exceptions such as casual mentions of vacation spots with land-based casinos and so on.
Staying safe is essential when you gamble online as a New Zealand player, and especially since your own government might not be there for you if you get scammed or accidentally choose a site that isn’t licensed. Let’s start with licensing. You want an online casino to be licensed by (preferably) one of these licensing agencies:
Due to the current legal status of online gambling in New Zealand, you won’t be able to find any relevant licensing authorities from New Zealand, but the above listed agencies are all considered trustworthy. The biggest names on the list are MGA and UKGC.
You can find licensing information in the terms and conditions provided by the casino, or in the footer of the casino gambling page. There, you’ll also find information on where the casino is based, but the licence alone indicates that it’s not in New Zealand since these authorities wouldn’t licence an illegal casino.
Famous Casino Games in NZ
Since the game access is restricted in New Zealand, we’ll instead look at what types of games New Zealand gamblers tend to play the most when using overseas casinos. There is a lot to choose from and everyone has their favourite, of course, but there are still some interesting trends that highlight a preference for specific game types.
If you are new to online gambling, this could help you know where to start, but don’t be afraid to branch out and try a few different things until you find what you get the biggest thrill out of. There are hundreds of games out there from countless game developers, and being open to trying new things tends to pay off.
Slot machines are ideal for beginners, and many New Zealand players start out here. Simple games with few reels, rows and paylines, such as Starburst from NetEnd, are popular among those with less experience, with the majority venturing into slightly more complex games like progressive jackpot slots later on.
New Zealand players love their classics, and the interest for games like poker, baccarat, blackjack and roulette is high throughout the country. Since you can’t exactly head out to a land-based gambling house, table game enthusiasts turn to online casinos.
An even better alternative to land-based casinos is an online live casino, which could explain the live game popularity among New Zealand-based players. Here, you get to experience gambling with a real dealer and a real game table, only you watch it all via multiple cameras that are transmitting live. A large percentage of gambling New Zealanders also prefer live game shows like Deal or No Deal, Live Monopoly and Lightning Roulette.
Sports betting is a phenomenon all around the world, and New Zealanders sure love their sports, which is reflected in their choices of online gambling opportunities. Betting on sports like cricket, rugby, football and horse racing is very popular, something you can do at any online casino with a sportsbook.
Not a fan of either of these games? No worries, as the online gambling industry has it all. Games like bingo, lottery, keno, fortune wheels and scratch cards are also available to New Zealanders gambling online, and could provide a fun alternative for someone who wishes to try something different and change it up a little.
New Zealand Bonuses
There are no restrictions on casino bonuses for players from New Zealand, as you’ll be gambling on sites that aren’t in any way affiliated with the New Zealand government or limited by the country’s gambling laws. The best way to find new promotional offers and bonuses is by visiting the promo section on the website, or by signing up for a newsletter.
The types of bonuses you’ll have access to depends almost entirely on the casino, as each gambling site is free to offer their own bonuses, or skip bonus offers altogether. You’ll notice that welcome bonus packages are incredibly common, and they work as a way for casino sites to attract new players.
The most popular bonuses among New Zealand players are these:
Getting rewarded for choosing a casino isn’t a bad thing, and you’ll often have the opportunity to get cash matching bonuses of up to 100%, where if you deposit $100, the casino doubles it. Sounds nice, right? Free spins are also commonly included in casino welcome packages for New Zealanders, and they let you spin the reels on a slot for free.
If you find your new favourite casino, they might want to reward you also for sticking around, and not just when you sign up. Cashback programmes work similarly to airline mile clubs, where the more you play, the more money you get back. The casino will refund you a small percentage of your losses.
The easiest way to describe a deposit bonus is exactly what the name indicates, and you get a bonus when you make a deposit. Deposit bonuses are almost always part of the welcome package, but some sites available to New Zealanders also give out deposit bonus opportunities to their existing members.
Consider yourself lucky if you come across a no deposit casino bonus, as these are given to you automatically, without requiring you to deposit any money of your own. It means you can essentially play without having to pay a cent. Beware, though, as these bonuses almost always have wagering requirements, where you might end up playing with your own money anyway to liberate your bonus money.
|Welcome Bonus||Gets you off to a good start.||Only available once.|
|Deposit Bonus||Boosts your deposit amount with extra money or free spins.||May come with a deposit minimum.|
|No Deposit Bonus||“Free” money without making a deposit.||Difficult to find. Wagering requirements.|
|Cashback Bonus||No wagering requirements. Money back on your losses.||Not available at NZ-based online casinos.|
Make it a habit to read the terms and conditions accompanying a bonus offer before accepting, or check for information about wagering requirements in the general casino T & C’s. You often need to wager your bonus money a certain number of times before you can withdraw them or withdraw money won, and it is not unusual for wagering requirements to be somewhere between x20 and x45.
A $100 bonus with x45 wagering requirements need to be wagered for 45 times the received amount, which adds up to a total of $4,500. Bonuses at New Zealand casinos are great, but it doesn’t mean they’re completely free and your best bet is to make sure you know what’s expected of you once you accept a bonus.
Payment Methods in New Zealand
How you wish to pay matters when choosing an online casino as a New Zealander, as you want to find a new casino payment method you are comfortable with, and perhaps also accustomed to using for other internet purchases. Nobody wants to spend unnecessary time and energy on deposits and withdrawals, and you need something quick, safe and simple.
Here are some popular payment methods for New Zealand gamblers:
Now, let’s have a closer look at payment types and how they can benefit you as a casino player from or in New Zealand. We’ll take a look at the main categories to help you find the perfect one for you, both if you are new to online gambling and if you are looking for a trustworthy and reliable alternative.
You are probably familiar with bank cards like VISA, Mastercard, Maestro, American Express and similar, which remain one of the most common payment methods on the internet today. Close to every online casino allows players to pay by card, and the only real downside is the inconvenience of having to know your card number or have the card on you when you make a deposit or withdrawal.
It is no coincidence that the use of an e-wallet has become one of the most popular casino payment methods in the world, and especially now with so many to choose from! You have Skrill, Neteller, PayPal, EcoPayz and many more, and they all allow you to create your own digital wallet that you can use to both store money and make casino deposits and withdrawals.
As if that wasn’t enough, e-wallets also offer some of the fastest withdrawal times in the online casino industry, and thousands of New Zealanders have active accounts with different e-wallet payment platforms.
We get it, bank transfers are comfortable as many of us already have our internet banks set up, and it is also considered one of the safest ways to make casino transactions. Most online casinos allow you to deposit and withdraw money using your bank account and a regular wire transfer, and most New Zealand banks are compatible with international online casinos.
These are only a few examples of the New Zealand banks that can be used to make bank transfers to a casino, but keep in mind that the waiting times can be quite long for the money to arrive at its destination. It may be safe, but a bank transfer is nowhere near as fast as an e-wallet transaction, and that is something to keep in mind. Also, casino payments will be reflected on your bank statement.
Apps like Apple Pay and Google Pay are used frequently in New Zealand, both for online gambling and other internet payments. It is quick and easy since most newer devices come with these apps already installed, but the main thing to know is that they can both only be used for deposits. You will have to choose something else when you make a casino withdrawal.
Frequently Asked Questions About New Zealand Casinos
There are no legal NZ casinos, as the existing New Zealand gambling sites were made illegal in 2003. All legal gambling sites for New Zealand players are located overseas.
As long as you choose a casino that is licensed and regulated by a reputable licensing authority, then you shouldn’t have to worry about anything in regards to safety when gambling online.
Gambling in New Zealand is mostly illegal as a result of the Gambling Act 2003, but there are a few exceptions, and you can legally gamble at online casinos located outside New Zealand. In-country online gambling is not legal, but offshore online gambling is.
The legal gambling age in New Zealand is 20, and you or the gambling establishment could face hefty fines if caught gambling when underage.
If you value quick and hassle-free payments, e-wallets like PayPal, Skrill and Neteller are excellent options. You can also use one of your bank cards, or opt for cryptocurrency at the few online casinos that may offer it as a payment method.
You should never pay any money for a casino account, as it should always be free to create an account to check out a gambling site. If a casino is charging you to sign up, then you should probably see that as a red flag. You will only pay when you choose to deposit money into your casino account with one of the casino’s available payment methods.
Online gambling is extremely popular in New Zealand, and a big reason is that it is one of the few ways a New Zealander can gamble legally (provided you are gambling at a site or casino based outside New Zealand).
Most forms of sports betting is illegal in New Zealand, but you can get around it by placing sports bets on casinos and betting sites located overseas. It is legal for New Zealand players to bet on sports as long as the site or establishment is based outside the country borders.
Responsible gambling is about making sure it stays fun and safe, and that online gaming doesn’t start affecting your life negatively. It is easy to get swept away by flashing lights and the irresistible clinking sound of coins, but you must always remember that you are playing with real money—your money, and that it is even easier to lose than it is to win.
When it comes down to it, it is your responsibility as a gambler to make sure you gamble responsibly, but online casinos available to New Zealand players also have resources to help their players maintain a healthy relationship with their betting. Responsible gambling is usually referred to as ‘Problem Gambling’ in New Zealand.
Ways a casino can help you is by providing options to set up gambling limits for yourself, where you limit how much money you can spend over a period of time. Many New Zealand players choose to set weekly spending limits to make sure they don’t get carried away and spend more than they can afford.
For those who need additional help or who would like to learn more about responsible gambling in New Zealand, there are a few resources available. Keep in mind that in-country gambling is mostly illegal, which is why resources may be somewhat more limited than in areas where you can legally gamble.
Always be honest with yourself and never hesitate to reach out to the casino or to an external source if you feel you need help establishing a healthy gambling routine, or if you are concerned about negative any effects your gambling is having on your life.
NZ Gambling is on the Rise
Perhaps you are feeling hesitant to gambling online in a country where gambling is actually illegal, but as long as you choose a trustworthy casino site located outside New Zealand—you have nothing to worry about. It is perfectly legal for New Zealanders to gamble on the internet, provided the platform is not based in New Zealand.
With this in mind, this comprehensive guide was put together with the purpose to help you find safe sites to explore all your favourite slots, live casino games, video poker, sports betting and much more, or to try online gambling for the first time. Be responsible when you place your bets and with the money you spend, and use the tips provided here to enhance your overall gaming experience.
While there are no indicators at this point that the gambling laws in New Zealand might change anytime soon, online gambling at offshore sites is likely to gain increasing popularity to match the rising fame it has gotten worldwide. We can only speculate that it might put pressure on the existing in-country gambling restrictions, but that is for the future to tell.
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