Making Sense of the Complicated Gambling Laws in New Zealand


Trying to make sense of the often complicated gambling laws in any one specific country can be difficult, much more so in places such as New Zealand.

Take the laws on casino gambling, visitors to such venues must be over the age of 21 to gain legal access to them, however, placing a bet on a horse race or playing the lottery is going to see gamblers having to be at least 18 years of age or older.

Whilst such laws are always in place to protect the vulnerable and young from getting addicted to gambling, it should be the case that if you can place a bet legally on, for example, a horse race then you are surely old enough to keep your faculties about you when visiting a land based casino.

However, the powers that be in New Zealand must have their own reasons for implementing those two quite different minimum legal age to gamble laws they have chosen to put in place, but to be fair to them it is often the same in some other countries of the world.

Gambling in all shapes and forms in New Zealand is, of course, big business, but in an attempt to ensure it is operators of such businesses and the government coffers that profit from gambling activities there are also some very strict laws in place regarding gambling online in New Zealand too, and below you will find an overview of what they are.

Racing and Lottery Betting Big Business

There are only two forms of gambling that can be conducted online by residents and citizens from and living in New Zealand at sites licensed there, and they include playing the lottery there and also placing bets and wagers on horse races.

However, it is only horse race meetings and races that are governed and overseen by the Racing Board and lotteries regulated by the Lotteries Commission of that country that are licensed and regulated in New Zealand, so the country does have some way to go to get their own regulatory infrastructure in place.

Online gambling, however, has become very popular with residents and citizens of New Zealand regarding activities such as bingo, poker and casino games, and a huge number of people do now much prefer to play from the comfort of their own home these days.

Thanks to the number of gambling sites that are available to New Zealanders that are licensed in other countries of the world, they do have plenty of sites at which to play any type of casino, bingo or poker games.

In fact, one only has to take a look at the sheer number of websites online that give gamblers information on where to play online slots and how to gamble online to get an idea of just how popular gambling online is becoming there.

Most Popular Types of Gambling Activities in New Zealand

To give you some idea as to just how popular the legal gambling activities in New Zealand are, below you will find an overview of the annual spend on several different forms of gambling, and that will give you an insight into just which forms of gambling residents there to tend to love taking part in.

Gaming Machines

Gaming machines are permitted to be operated legally in many different venues in New Zealand and whilst most gamblers in other parts of the world will associate gaming machines with slot machines, they are lovingly referred to there as “pokie machines”.

Playing pokies does appear to be an activity most locals enjoy doing, for gambling figures released by the New Zealand Government reveal that in 2016/2017, which for the record are the last set of updated gambling spend figures available, players of pokie machines spent a mind boggling $870 player them.

That figure is based on the pokie machines that are not located in casinos, just those machines that are available in places such as pubs and clubs and the like.

Horse Racing

Whilst in many countries the horse racing industry is not a huge money maker, that is certainly not the case in New Zealand, for betting on horses is something many people enjoy doing, and in 2016/17 a total of some $338 million was spent doing just that.


Playing the lottery is often called a tax on the stupid, for with only a tiny chance of winning a life changing jackpot payout people that do play and take part in any lottery have only a miniscule chance of winning.

However, dreaming of a big win is something that many New Zealanders must do, for each week they spend a small fortune buying lottery tickets. In 2016/17 the total spent on lottery tickets was a massive $555 million.

Land Based Casinos

There are not that many land based casinos dotted around New Zealand, however, those that are do appear to get plenty of visitors throughout the year.

In fact, during 2016/17 land based casino gambling was the second most popular type of gambling activity if you base the amount of cash gamblers spent doing so, for that figure was recorded as being some $572 million.

It is fair to say though that the majority of that income made by land based casinos was generated by the pokie machines available in those venues, which is proof that above all else those living in New Zealand do have something of a love affair with pokie machines and cannot get enough of playing them.


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