Gambling within New Zealand is governed by the Gambling Act of 2003, and this clearly lays out which gambling activities – if any – are legal. Unlike Australia’s gambling laws, most forms of gambling are illegal online, with sports betting outlawed – the same holds true for casino games, though thankfully, again like Australia, New Zealand residents are legally permitted to play casino games with offshore companies, although again, there is less protection against rogue casinos when things go wrong.
The bottom line, however, is clear: New Zealand’s Gambling Act of 2003 makes it perfectly legal for New Zealand-based players to play casino games online, provided the country providing the services is not based in New Zealand itself.
New Zealand Online Gambling Laws, Rules, and Regulations
The Gambling Act of 2003 did change many gambling-related activities in New Zealand, but the general message arising from the Act, in terms of online gambling, is very clear: it isn’t illegal for a New Zealand resident to game at an online casino that’s based offshore, and residents who choose to do so are at no risk from prosecution, or financial penalty whatsoever. Also legal under the Gambling Act of 2003 is online Sports Betting, and again, players from New Zealand are legally able to place sports bets online, provided the casino is based offshore.
Due to the fact that only offshore casinos are able to accept New Zealand players, dispute resolution does become a little bit more complex. The international casinos aren’t regulated by a New Zealand regulatory body, which means they are not governed by local law. However, provided players choose a reputable casino that’s fair, honest, and has a proven track record of looking after its players, there should be no problems – just make sure the casino you choose to play at is licensed by the relevant regulatory body.
While it’s been notoriously hard for players in New Zealand to gamble online in their own currency, times are changing fast, and many online casinos now allow New Zealand players to deposit, withdraw, and play in their local currency. Doing so ensures players don’t need to pay exchange rate fees, and makes general play easier, and you are not having to constantly mentally convert currencies to know how much you are betting.
New Zealand residents also have a wide range of payment processor solutions available to them, including Visa, MasterCard, POLi, paysafecard, Skrill, and Neteller. With more casinos choosing to accept New Zealand players, the amount of payment processors available will likely increase, although as it is, the selection is impressive, and should cater to most players’ needs.
Software and Games
Much like Australia, New Zealand players will notice Microgaming is one of the major providers of games. This is beneficial, as Microgaming are known for providing some of the highest-quality games in the industry, including both Video Slot titles, like Game of Thrones, Immortal Romance, and Dragonz, as well as classic Casino Table Games, like Roulette, Blackjack, Baccarat, Three Card Poker, and Casino Hold’ Em. Players will also find a selection of other games available, including Craps, Scratch Card games, Keno and Lottery-type games, and various forms of Bingo.
The New Zealand tax authority – Inland Revenue – make many references to gambling winnings within their various laws and acts, and while some may have you believe you do have to pay tax on gambling winnings, the scenarios when you are required by law to do so, are incredibly rare. Gambling, according to New Zealand law, is classified as a recreational activity, and this means it is not subject to taxation – no matter how much you win, or how regularly you win.
However, the exception to this rule is if gambling is your primary/sole source of income. Professional poker players are generally the only gamblers who’d ever fall into this category, and even then, it’s not 100% definite that tax must be paid. The bottom line is, if you are playing online casino games recreationally, you don’t have to pay ANY tax on your winnings, nor declare them to Inland Revenue. It’s always worth consulting with your tax advisor or accountant, for peace of mind and to ensure you don’t fall foul of any other laws or regulations.