The Impact of Online Casinos in New Zealand

Online gambling is on the rise in New Zealand, so much so that the country has announced it wants to review the 2003 Gambling Act to keep up with the changes in technology. An incredible $381 million was uploaded into online gambling websites from 2018 – 2019 just from New Zealand, which is impressive considering the small population. 

Gambling History

Now in 2020, New Zealand’s gambling industry rakes in $1.3 Billion, and much like their Australian neighbors, they love their casino games – primarily pokies. Recent statistics show that pokies make up 35% of total betting revenue on websites like Casumo online casino, where casino games are at 26%.

Since New Zealanders are now considered ‘active gamblers’ based on statistics, it’s more important than ever for the country to review its laws. Similar to countries like France, the UK, and certain states in the US, the land of New Zealand has strict regulations created by the federal government. It started in 1920 when bookmaking wasn’t allowed throughout the country except at racetracks.

In 1961 the government legalized lottery games. Finally, in 1994, New Zealand passed an all-encompassing gambling act for the casino industry as pokies were now permitted. Thanks to pokies, 9 years later, the definite gambling law, the Gambling Act of 2003, passed because the government saw a growing interest in card games and slot machines.

Gambling Act 2003

The first noticeable impact online casinos made to New Zealand is the Gambling Act 2003. It condensed the country’s already existing gambling laws in light of new online casinos and internet gambling s popularity. It was created to remove any negative effects of online gambling, like identity theft and licensing.

The Gambling Act was amended twice since it passed, but the main statues stayed in place. All and all, the Gambling Act did its job in upholding the highest levels of security and service across its own gambling websites as well as off-shore locations that wanted to break into the market.

Lasting Effects of the Gambling Act

The age of participants was the first standard implemented by the Gambling Act 2003. Under the law, only people age 20 and above are allowed inside a casino. In addition, anyone who wants to bet on sports (horse racing included) , buy a scratch card, or play the lottery must be 18 or older. The government also lists eight main aims, which also encompass online gambling.

Since the advent of online gambling, it has been amended multiple times to include various different betting options, including online poker, bingo, lotteries, casinos, and all forms of mobile betting. However, the law against online casinos only applies to remote gambling within the countries. For overseas betting, New Zealanders are allowed to bet with real money.

So, although it’s technically illegal to bet online from a New Zealand online casino that operates within the country, you can, as a Kiwi, bet online through an overseas casino legally. The current system of regulations won’t prevent players from betting online. As of now, Lotto and the TAB are the only legal online gambling providers.

Economical and Social Impact

Online gambling has made a positive impact on the New Zealand economy, which is one of the main reasons the government wants to pass laws as a way to include online gambling websites in the country. However, there has been some pushback from local Kiwis due to the fear it will lead to gambling addiction.

Although gambling addiction is a real fear, the New Zealand government recognizes that, no matter how legal or illegal gambling is in the country, people will seek it out regardless. The government could put some resources it has earned from gambling into programs that seek to help those who are already addicted and create steps, so it doesn’t occur again.