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New Zealand Gambling Laws

Not everything is straightforward with online gambling. Therefore, as players, it is wise to understand New Zealand gambling laws before you accept a bonus or take part in online gambling at an online casino or sports betting site.

Via the Department of Internal Affairs, the Gambling Commission issues licenses for lotteries and the like. However, legal online casinos are available for players from abroad. Whether you’re in Christchurch, Auckland or anywhere else, it’s best for players to know the rules themselves.

We, here at LordOfOdds, will walk you through what the Gambling Act says. This can affect your free bonus money and other betting issues which is why we’ll go through how the Act affects players.

We review what the NZ Gambling Commission does, the legality of betting apps, the history of betting in the country, and we also answer your questions on the subject. T&Cs always apply when betting – so get ahead of the game.

Content Index

What the NZ Gambling Act is All About

When undertaking a review of New Zealand gambling laws, it’s important to know what the NZ Gambling Act 2003 says about online gambling in the country.

The Act itself is a long-winded document covering many aspects of the sector. It outlines all gambling laws concerning casinos (we review bonuses separately as T&Cs apply). It covers casino games whether free or not, as well as sportsbook games such as football, rugby and horse racing.

New Zealand gambling laws are important to know. Whether you bet on games in a land-based casino in Wellington, Auckland or Christchurch, or you bet online, the laws still apply.

The Act does allow for legal online gambling for Kiwis. It only prohibits commercial betting entities from within the country’s borders.

It is legal for Kiwis to use online sports betting sites or casinos that are offshore. The Act allows any bonus you take or games you bet on from overseas, usually with the Malta Gaming Authority license. We take the Gambling Act into consideration when we review any betting site.

How the Gambling Act Affects Players

New Zealand gambling laws and the 2003 Act, in particular, are there to stop illegal or immoral activity from betting operators. How does the Act affect players, though?

Via the Gambling Commission and the Department of Internal Affairs, offline gambling in NZ is kept strictly to those over 20 for land-based casinos. For sportsbook players and those betting on lotteries, the minimum age is 18.

However, the Act doesn’t just affect the age of players. The other main aims of the Gambling Act are to:

  • Monitor and control gambling growth – This is positive for players, as the Act helps to promote responsible gambling.
  • Authorise some forms of gambling – Players can’t access an online casino or sports betting site based in NZ, but can bet on games when sites are based abroad.
  • Encourage responsible gambling habits – Free bets and bonuses are allowed (T&Cs apply). But, taking a bonus means betting responsibly, which the Act encourages.
  • Encourage fair play and integrity – Players can rest assured that the Act keeps illegal and unscrupulous betting sites and casinos off the market as much as possible.
  • Limit the scope of dishonesty and crimes related to gambling – Players should always bet with a licensed casino or sportsbook to know they are not funding crime.
  • Ensure gambling profits benefit the community – Profits from lotteries and the like should always benefit the community, which is always under review.

The NZ Gambling Commission

New Zealand gambling laws may not be the most interesting thing to read up on, but they’re important for players. The Gambling Commission sets them, but what do they do?

The Gambling Commission is an independent regulator. In fact, the Gambling Act 2003 established it. The Commission is there to listen to online and offline casino license applications. It also hears appeals on licensing and enforcement decisions of the Department of Internal Affairs.

These appeals usually concern games machines and other activities not related to casinos. It has wide-reaching powers and functions when it comes to land-based and online gambling that affects players. These include:

  • Determining applications for and renewal of casino licenses
  • Approving changes and agreements between casino operators and license holders
  • Revoking casino licenses when necessary
  • Determining appeals against licensing decisions made by the Department of Internal Affairs
  • Hearing complaints about how the Department of Internal Affairs has handled queries
  • Advising NZ ministers on settling the problem gambling levy and reviewing the levy
  • Advising the Minister of the Department on matters relating to the Gambling Act 2003

In doing this, the Commission oversees matters that relate to online gambling which can affect the day-to-day of players. This can include a free games bonus, other bonuses in which T&Cs apply and even free games if they are on a betting site.

New Zealand Gambling Laws

The Legality of Betting Apps in New Zealand

As there is often confusion among the New Zealand gambling laws, it’s important for players to know if online casino and betting apps are legal. In short, they are.

Apps are dealt with under the same rules as any sportsbook and online casino. The apps we review are run usually by major online gambling and sportsbook brands. They are licensed overseas and residents of New Zealand are not prohibited from using it according to New Zealand gambling laws.

Free apps work all over the country. From Auckland to Christchurch, apps contain everything players want. A sports bonus, a real-money deposit bonus, free bet bonuses and casino bonuses are all available for players on apps.

Players can download apps for free, and we review them as part of an overall review of casinos. Apps contain sports betting, horse racing and other games, both free and real money. T&Cs apply to bonuses, but they are 100% legal on apps.

New Zealand’s Sports Betting and Gambling History

You can go all the way back to the 19th century to find betting in New Zealand. This was based on cards and athletics and came long before online gambling.

Horse racing has long since been one of the most popular forms of betting. In the online gambling era, horse racing was banned in the 1920s, but the New Zealand Racing Board again provides players with plenty to bet money on.

New Zealand gambling laws in the 1980s allowed lottery games. Then, the 1994 Gambling Act allowed casinos, meaning players could enter land-based casinos for free in Auckland, Christchurch and the likes and bet real money on their favourite games.

The 2003 Act has since allowed for today’s online casino fascination. Free spins, great games and a big bonus often await Kiwi players now. As T&Cs apply, we review each bonus.

We always conduct a review of a betting site in accordance with how New Zealand’s sports betting and online gambling history has changed, knowing what modern players now want.


In terms of legality, the New Zealand Racing Board oversees horse racing as a sport. In turn, money can be bet in person or using an online gambling site, betting site or sportsbook according to New Zealand gambling laws.

The TAB stands for Totalisator Agency Board. This is a division of the New Zealand Racing Board. It works the same way as the TAB in Australia. It is a pool betting system allowing players to make bets on racing.

As well as what’s on offer by the New Zealand Racing Board, whose TAB remains the favourite of bettors, players can also place racing bets via bet365 and other top online gambling sites. However, The New Zealand TAB remains a real source of pride for the racing industry.


New Zealand gambling laws are there to protect players. Online gambling sites have to be based abroad and New Zealand gambling laws have changed over the years. They now reflect the online gambling world. Check out any casino review with us, and you will find reputable sites keeping on the right side of the rules.

New Zealand Gambling Laws FAQ

We provide answers to your key questions about New Zealand gambling laws in this section.

🇳🇿 Who regulates gambling in NZ?

The New Zealand Gambling Commission. They listen to online and offline casino licensing applications and appeals. They regulate online gambling of all types, as well as land-based casinos.

⚖️ Is gambling legal in NZ?

Yes. Gambling is legal. New Zealand gambling laws allow online gambling, casinos, lottery, bingo and sportsbook betting. Our reviews check out the legal betting sites.

🎰 What is considered gambling in NZ?

The Gambling Commission oversees prize competitions, lotteries, games of chance and instant games. Also, sports betting, including horse racing, online and offline casinos and games machines are gambling.

🏉 Is bet365 legal in NZ?

Yes. Although based overseas, it is legal for residents of New Zealand to use their site. It is an online casino, games site and a sportsbook featuring horse racing and 30+ sports.

🖥️ Is live betting legal in New Zealand?

Yes. Live betting is legal for all players. Players can gamble online live on casino games, also on live sports such as horse racing and football games. Live betting can be done via desktop, mobile browser or app.

🏇 Is betting on horse racing online legal in New Zealand?

Yes. According to New Zealand gambling laws, betting money online on horse racing is legal. The New Zealand Racing Board oversees horse racing in the country.

♠️ Are online casino games legal in New Zealand?

Yes. The Gambling Act only prohibits games and casinos that originate from within NZ borders. Those licensed overseas are legal. Casino games and online sports betting is perfectly legal.

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