New Zealand is an island state in Polynesia. Gambling is legal under New Zealand law. The annual turnover in the industry is over 2,000,000,000 NZD. There are 4 land-based gambling houses and one bingo hall in the country. Online casinos in New Zealand cannot operate legally, but players have free access to foreign sites. Such resources are not blocked and there are no penalties for their use.
New Zealand gambling legislation
The law that currently regulates New Zealand’s gambling business was passed in 2003. It was adopted to replace the 1977 and 1990 regulations. It is regularly amended. The law has the following objectives:
- control over the gambling industry and minimization of damage from gambling;
- formulation of the list of permitted gambling entertainment;
- promoting responsible gaming;
- ensuring fairness and fairness of gambling;
- prevention of offenses in the field of gambling;
- involvement of the community in decision-making regarding gambling.
Under current regulations, licenses to operate land-based casinos in New Zealand are no longer being issued. However, valid permits can be renewed. New Zealand operators are not allowed to provide services to players during national religious holidays. Otherwise, the casino administration can expect a fine of 10,000 NZD.
Persons who are at least 18 years old can take part in the lotteries, the minimum age of casino visitors is 20 years. New Zealand has a mechanism for self-identification of problem players. If a gambler realizes that gambling causes him significant damage, he has the opportunity to request a ban on visiting the casino.
According to the law adopted in 2003, the types of gambling are divided into 4 classes:
- Games with a winnings and a potential turnover of no more than 500 NZD, without the use of machines;
- Similar games with a possible winnings and a turnover of no more than 5,000 NZD;
- Games without using machines with winnings and a turnover of more than 5,000 NZD;
- Slot machines.
Only games of the 3rd and 4th class are subject to licensing. Each of them has its own type of license with the corresponding requirements.
Class 3 game licensing
Most casino games fall into this category. To obtain this license, an application is submitted, to which are attached:
- information about games, their list and rules;
- information about planned winnings;
- address and other contact details of the operator.
When registering, the operator may be required to attach documentation that will testify to the solvency and positive credit history, the absence of convictions for the founders, etc. Upon the expiration of the validity period, the license can be renewed, provided that its owners did not violate the established rules.
Class 4 game licensing
The procedure for obtaining a license is the same as for issuing a permit for class 3 games. When submitting an application, the licensee must attach a description of his experience in the field of gambling, as well as inform the regulatory authorities of how he plans to assist in the fight against gambling addiction. There are separate procedures for the licensing of casinos and lotteries, but, as mentioned earlier, no new permits are currently being issued.
Legal issues related to gambling in New Zealand are the responsibility of the New Zealand Gambling Commission. This is a special body that was established in 2003 simultaneously with the adoption of the relevant law. Graeme Reeves is the head of the commission.
The regulator works closely with the New Zealand Ministry of Health. Monitoring and statistics of the spread of gambling addiction are being conducted, measures are being taken to minimize damage from gambling. All licensed operators are required to assist in these tasks. In addition, the Department of Internal Affairs of New Zealand monitors compliance with applicable gambling laws.
Online Casinos in New Zealand
According to the current law, the organization of the activities of sites that provide the opportunity to gamble on a remote basis is prohibited. This does not mean a total ban on online casinos in New Zealand. The authorities do not in any way restrict players’ access to foreign sites. The most popular gambling resource among New Zealand players is 365bet.com. The international bookmaker receives approximately 20% of all traffic in this thematic segment. In second place is the national lottery Mylotto.co.nz, and in third place is the Tab.co.nz sweepstakes.
Poker fans from New Zealand are most likely to play at Pokerstars.com, and the most popular resource among bingo fans is Bingocabin.com.
Popular slot machines
Video slots are one of the most popular types of gambling in the country. In New Zealand, they received the slang name “pokies”. The following slots are especially popular among New Zealand gamblers:
- Gonzo’s Quest;
- The Wizard of Oz;
- Medusa II.
Well-known gambling software manufacturers do not operate in New Zealand. The most demanded foreign developer in the country is Playtech.
Prospects for the development of the gambling business in New Zealand
The gambling market in New Zealand is formed and stable. Due to the restriction on the issuance of new licenses, it is not yet possible to talk about a possible revival in the land-based gambling segment. The currently licensed operators are fully responsive to the current needs of New Zealand players. The authorities are trying to streamline the activities of online casinos. In particular, it is planned to introduce a tax for foreign bookmakers in the amount of 2% of the profits received from New Zealand players.
New Zealand is characterized by a well-developed gambling legal framework that is friendly to players and takes into account their interests as much as possible. A reasonable compromise has been found in the country between the fight against gambling addiction and the creation of comfortable conditions for gamblers.