Gambling has been a part of the Kiwis culture for decades. Early records show that the people of New Zealand were betting on horse racing as early as 1830. A resident of the country named George Julius is also widely known for inventing the first all-mechanical tote board to aid in parimutuel betting in 1913.
Today, gambling is one of the top recreational activities for Kiwis. The government of New Zealand allows its citizens to participate in various gambling activities such as casino gaming, sports betting, lotteries, bingo, and scratch cards.
Read more about the country's gambling laws and regulations on this page. You will also discover several safe and legal real-money gaming sites for Kiwis in our exclusive list of the best online casinos for New Zealand players.
Gambling has a deep-rooted history in the culture of New Zealanders. Wagering has been a much-loved pastime of many Kiwis since early in the 19th century, and a majority of the country's adult population continues to enjoy the activity today.
Throughout history, the government of NZ has made several efforts to regulate wagering through legislation. The first of these laws was the Gambling Act of 1908 which outlawed all wagering activities except betting at horse racing tracks.
In 1920, the government banned all betting activities including gambling at racetracks, and this continued to be illegal until 1960. Lotteries became legal in 1977, and casino gaming was later legalized in 1990. New Zealand's first land-based casino, Christchurch Casino, opened in Christchurch city in 1994, followed by SkyCity Auckland in 1996. Since then, four more land-based gambling venues have opened across the country and remain operational until today. The games offered in these brick-and-mortar establishments range from slot machines to table games like Poker, Blackjack, Roulette, and Baccarat to mention a few.
The primary legislation governing gambling in NZ is the Gambling Act of 2003. Under the law, New Zealanders who are 20 years or older can participate in on-site casino gaming. However, the legal age to participate in sports betting, lotteries, and wagering on horse racing is 18 years. Laws governing real money gaming in the country are enforced by the Department of Internal affairs, which is the main regulatory authority. There is also a Gambling Commission that is in charge of licensing casino operators.
With regard to internet wagering, NZ has some of the most liberal and straightforward laws. The law allows the citizens to wager at online casinos as long as they are located outside the country. This means that it's perfectly legal to play at gambling sites that are licensed and regulated offshore. Also, the government does not tax gambling winnings except in cases where a player gambles professionally.
As we have already mentioned, NZ does not license or regulate virtual casinos but Kiwis are allowed to wager at offshore gambling websites of their choice. As such, gambling enthusiasts in the country are spoilt for choice when it comes to real-money internet gaming platforms. There are plenty of gambling sites that welcome players from the country, and some even accept the NZ Dollar (NZD) for payments.
If you're just getting started with online gambling and you're not sure of how to go about it then don't worry. We have a team of experts who go all out to test and review hundreds of real-money gaming websites on the internet with the aim of bringing you the best. These sites excel in various aspects including security, bonuses, fast payouts, fair gaming, reliability, and customer support. You can browse our recommended list of the best online casinos in New Zealand to discover the top legal sites for NZ players.
New Zealand's top digital casinos offer an excellent selection of games that one can play for free or real money using any device. As you would expect, the majority of these games are slot machines or pokies of varying themes and designs. The casinos also offer a wide variety of traditional table games such as Baccarat, Roulette, Blackjack, Craps, Sic Bo, Casino Hold'em, and different variants of Video Poker. You will also find other games like Keno, Bingo, Scratch Cards, and live dealer games at the leading gambling sites for NZ players.
When it comes to internet casino banking, New Zealand players have access to several payment options for both deposits and withdrawals. Typically, the vast majority of players use credit and charge cards Visa, MasterCard, Diners Club, and American Express. Other popular and convenient payment options for Kiwis include Paysafecard, Neteller, Poli, Skrill, WebMoney, PayPal, Click2Pay, iDebit, ClickandBuy, Payforit, and Bank Wire.