Gambling online is popular across the globe, and New Zealand is no different. While many countries have decided to regulate online gambling, some have not, and New Zealand falls into the latter in many regards. The twin-island country has gambling laws which have legalised online sports betting and lottery games. However, online casino gaming is technically illegal. Despite that, many New Zealanders are free to bet online. How is this possible? If you want to learn more about New Zealand’s gambling laws, and the loopholes which allow you to gamble at online casinos across the world, read on.
An Overview of Gambling in New Zealand
New Zealand’s gambling laws stem from a piece of legislation from 2003. The Gambling Act gives the authority to regulate New Zealand’s gambling games to the New Zealand Lottery Commission, and the New Zealand Racing Board. Provided that an online lottery or sportsbook is affiliated with (well, essentially run by) either the NZLC or the NZRB, it is legal in the country.
The New Zealand gambling laws specifically state that New Zealand licensed operators are not permitted to offer online casino games to players in the country. However, the laws do not mention offshore casinos and remote gambling operators. These fall outside of the NZLC and NZRB’s jurisdiction, as well as the authority of the Department of Internal Affairs and Gambling Commission.
It is worth noting that New Zealand does permit land-based gambling. There are half-a-dozen land-based casinos which offer casino games, but remote gambling is not possible when it comes to these games. At the same time, online poker and online bingo games are also deemed illegal in the country, despite the latter being immensely popular with Kiwis.
Despite the relative inflexibility of these gambling laws, many New Zealanders opt to bet on games online. In many ways, the laws of the country suffer from the same defects as those in Canada, Australia and other countries. They suffer from loopholes which allow a back door to be opened for offshore operators. In short, if New Zealanders do want to bet on online casino games, they will need to frequent a foreign casino. With that in mind, let us look at those next.
About New Zealander Offshore Casinos
As touched upon, there is no such thing as a New Zealand online casino. As such, when one refers to New Zealand casinos, we are typically referring to any offshore or foreign casino which caters to players in New Zealand. In many cases, these sites will provide special features which appeal directly to players in the Pacific island nation.
It is not uncommon to find the New Zealand dollar (NZD) offered as a currency option, coupled with New Zealand-friendly payment methods. Support and assistance may also be available via New Zealand toll-free telephone numbers.
You might assume that New Zealand would make it illegal for its citizens and residents to visit offshore casinos and place bets. However, while it is technically illegal to do so, there is no specific law prohibiting it. New Zealand has promising to fine operators who cater to New Zealanders, but there is no evidence of them carrying out this threat, nor do they block access to offshore casinos, or demand that ISPs (internet service providers in the country do so). Moreover, there is no punishment for Kiwis who wish to play at online casinos operating in other countries.
This naturally gives New Zealanders a variety of options for betting online. Extra care should be taken when deciding where to play, though. While New Zealanders seemingly have access to virtually any casino which will accept them, there are both good and bad sites out there to play at. We will look at these in a little more detail shortly.
New Zealand’s Most Played Casino Games
If you are giving some thought about what you can play at a New Zealand online casino, this next section is for you. What do Kiwis like to play? Unsurprisingly, many New Zealanders are eager to play the same games at those you will find at any casinos. In short, they include:
Pokies: Like Australians, New Zealanders often refer to slot machines as pokies. These games include 3-reel classic pokies and fruit machines, as well as 5-reel video pokies. They may offer progressive (uncapped) jackpot prizes, or fixed jackpot prizes. On top of that, New Zealand’s most popular pokies may come in a myriad of themes, with a wealth of special features.
Card Games: There are many different card games you can at New Zealand casinos. Baccarat and blackjack are the two most popular ones, but ultimately, you can expect to get to grips with hi-low, war and even solitaire in some sites. Of course, there is one card game which is considerably more popular than the rest…
Poker: Poker is a major lure in New Zealand. Poker rooms are, themselves, banned. However, you can find both RNG (random number generator) and live dealer poker games aplenty online. These may include casino hold’em, three card poker, Caribbean stud, numerous other variants, and of course, the ever-popular Texas hold’em poker.
Roulette and Craps: Dice and number games also tend to appear frequently at New Zealander online casinos. European roulette is usually favoured by New Zealanders over its American equivalent. It is not impossible to find a variety of craps and sic bo games at top New Zealand online casinos, too.
Live Dealer Casino Games: Although none of the world’s leading live dealer casino games is streamed out of New Zealand, it is still very much possible to play these games at New Zealand casino sites. You can expect all the games we have already listed above (apart from pokies), as well as oddities such as Monopoly: Live, Football Studio, Dream Catcher, and Deal or No Deal: Live.
Video Poker: For those New Zealanders who are not, perhaps, as gifted at poker as seasoned pros, and need a little practice, there is video poker. Played without a dealer, your only objective is to build a decent hand. These retro games make for the ideal training ground for budding New Zealander poker players, and many variants can often be found at casinos.
Lottery, Keno and Bingo: Bingo and keno games are technically banned, but New Zealand does have official, endorsed and licensed lottery websites. If you do fancy your chances at bingo, though, you can often find these games at New Zealand casinos, alongside other instant win titles.
Instant Win Games: Instant win games are typically classed as anything which cannot find nicely and neatly into any other genre. Indeed, some New Zealand online casinos simply refer to these games as “others”. Scratch cards, sudoku and fixed-odds titles can often be found in this genre, perhaps, alongside keno, lottery and bingo games, too.
As well as the games listed above, New Zealanders also like to wager on sports. There are a variety of New Zealand Racing Board licensed sites which are fully legal in the country. Of course, offshore betting domains can provide you with sports betting opportunities, too.
Taxes on Big Wins at New Zealander Casinos
Gambling tax is very much a problem for operators, rather than players. If you are only playing games in the country, and not hosting them, you will not be taxed on anything you win. While a quick check of the Inland Revenue Department’s tax code does see them talk of gambling taxes, these are reserved for owners and operators, not the casual player.
Like Britain and other Commonwealth countries, money receiving from gambling is not considered an income. As a result, you do not have to pay duties on your winnings. However, it is worth noting that if you are a professional gambler (and have no other sources of fixed income), you are required to pay income tax on anything you win. This is not without its issues, as in theory, a gambler could deduct their stakes (losses) from income tax. Naturally, this presents all sorts of problems. However, the odds are that you like to gamble from time to time and are not interested in making a bit of a business out of it. With that in mind, you are free to gamble without paying tax.
The Best New Zealander Online Casinos to Join Today
As mentioned earlier, New Zealanders have access to all manner of online casinos. Some of these are amongst the absolute best in the business, and others you are going to want to avoid as much as possible. How can you know which New Zealand casinos mean business, and which ones will take you for a ride, though?
We would naturally advise you to check out any of our recommended New Zealand casinos, as they represent the best casinos for New Zealand players in the business. If you wish to go it alone and do your own research, though, the following checklist should help you identify the top sites and the bad eggs.
Security and Safety: All top New Zealand online casinos should be secure and provide you with safe gameplay. Naturally, this means that they should a valid gambling license, issued out of a reputable jurisdiction. Many Kiwis opt to play at UK Gambling Commission or Malta Gaming Authority licensed site, or those licensed out of Gibraltar, as these are heavily regulated.
Responsible Gambling: Most players will not develop a gambling problem. However, it is impossible to say if that might be you. One way to ensure you do not get into trouble is to only play at sites which promote responsible gambling. These will have limits on the amount you can wager and deposit and offer cool-down periods and other policies.
NZDs and Support: As you live in New Zealand, it only seems right that a New Zealand online casino should provide you with support and assistance in a language you can understand. Moreover, those support options should be free of charge and fast. The opening hours of support should either be around the clock or at a time which works well for New Zealanders. On top of that, being able to use the New Zealander dollar (NZD) is critical, as you do not want to pay currency conversion fees.
New Zealand Payment Methods: Most New Zealanders can readily deposit into their accounts using the same payment methods that you could use elsewhere. However, a few of the best casinos for New Zealanders will offer payment methods which are popular in New Zealand. These include POLi, PayPal, and a handful of others.
Proven Pedigree: The final way you can make totally sure that any New Zealand online casino you choose to play at is secure is to look for a proven pedigree. As mentioned, this website handles this service for you and does all the digging you need to determine which sites mean business, and which should be avoided. If you wish to do a little digging for yourself, you should keep an eye out for awards, certificates of approval, accreditations and casino reviews. A top New Zealander casino should be trusted, valued, audited and approved. Any casino which has negative reviews or does not provide licensing details should be avoided.
With all the information presented above, your average New Zealander should be able to make an informed decision about which casino is the best place to play. Any casino which has most of the games listed above is licensed out of respectable jurisdiction and offers solid security and support could be the ideal place for you to play. In most cases, you will not need any VPNs (virtual private networks) to play online, either, as signing up and playing at offshore New Zealand online casinos remotely does not break any of New Zealand’s gambling laws. As a player in New Zealand, you can have your pick of thousands of top online casinos. Just make sure that that casino you opt to go with is amongst one of the best in the business.