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Playing at Online Casinos in New Zealand: Is it Safe and Legal?

New Zealand (NZ) supports multiple providers, both in land-based and online verticals. Since the pandemic, Kiwis have taken to online casinos, which are a convenient and safe way to wager.

Despite their ease of access, patrons have legitimate concerns about playing at online casinos. It is important to know that, unlike several countries, NZ handles online gambling differently at a domestic level. When comparing similar legislations, NZ’s law is similar to Australia’s Gambling Act.

There are several aspects pertaining to legality and safety when it comes to the practice of online gambling in NZ . This is precisely why gamblers should be aware of them, so they can make informed decisions and avoid encountering potential problems.

The last thing you want is to find a great online casino only to realise it’s not possible to play at it because you’re based in New Zealand.

The Long Tradition of Gambling

Gambling was illegal for a long time in NZ, despite it being a popular pursuit. It was the 1908 Gambling Act that legalised betting on sports events, such as horse racing. The strict laws were further relaxed in 1961. Eventually, land-based enterprises were being permitted to operate during the 1990s.

As for online gambling, the Gambling Act of 2003 describes gambling as a game of chance where users place bets and play via communication devices. NZ allows online gambling only when the operator is based out of the country. Yes, citizens and residents cannot gamble online on national platforms.

The country permits online sports betting, lotteries, slots, bingo, poker, etc. as long as they are located abroad and not within its borders. The main verticals of online gambling are operated by the Totalisator Agency Board (TAB), which functions under the New Zealand Racing Board (NZRB). Nevertheless, playing online casino games is legal in NZ, provided that players from the country use the services of a foreign operator.

Can Kiwis Play at Online Casinos?

Kiwis can still play online casino games from a licensed foreign operator. But, make no mistake: this permission does not come without attached conditions. If a citizen wishes to play games on a foreign casino platform, they should be transparent about their nationality while creating an account.

Players need to be concerned about possible challenges they may encounter as stipulated by the Gambling Act 2003. Not only because the act is directed at organizations but also because it mentions entities behind the marketing aspects of an enterprise to comply with the law.

Taxes, Fines, and Penalties

Players’ winnings will not be taxed, but operators have to pay duties on the profits earned. Both players and organizations will be fined if they are found guilty of underage gambling.

In case of illegal and unlicensed gambling, individuals will incur a fine of $10,000, whereas organizations will be required to pay $50,000. This is why it’s important to look for relevant licenses and certifications to be up to date while playing at online casinos.

How Will the Disputes Be Settled?

Since the law makes a provision for players to use platforms based on foreign soil, any disputes between the player and the platform will be settled as per international law. NZ’s law applies only to domestic online casinos.

Are Advertisements and Affiliates Allowed in NZ?

The Gambling Act prohibits running advertisement campaigns for offshore gambling operators. Ads that publicize or promote gambling or gambling sites are forbidden. Affiliate networks, a person or a company which promotes gambling sites based in the country or outside it are considered criminal.

How to Stay Safe?

Players need to look for licenses issued by competent authorities and gaming regulators. These licenses are subject to strict controls. Therefore, all licensed casinos are safe for players from NZ. Licensed entities need to ensure that the casinos offer fair games and follow guidelines responsibly.

Main Take Away

Players should be aware of the legal and safety aspects of online casinos in NZ to avoid ugly skirmishes with domestic or international law. Therefore, finding trustworthy and reputable, safe, and above all, licensed casino platforms is important for Kiwis who want to play at online casinos outside the country.

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