Online Gaming Laws in New Zealand

Online Gaming Laws in New Zealand

Online gambling has unfortunately become a highly profitable and exploitative industry since its inception, leading to an overwhelming proliferation of online gambling operators that exploit vulnerable individuals and prey on their addiction to gambling. Remote play has enhanced the overall experience, allowing gamblers to play anywhere for real money without leaving their house.
On top of it all, gamblers can play at casinos from all sorts of countries, but only if they follow the online gambling NZ laws. This article covers everything you need to know about online gambling laws.

The Basics

All New Zealand Gambling activities and casinos fall under the Gambling Act 2003. Whether you want to bet on sports, purchase a lottery ticket, or watch horse races, you have to follow its regulations. Any gambling activity not covered by the Gambling Act 2003 authority is illegal. 

New Zealanders can't engage with domestic gambling operators online without the Totalizator Agency Board (TAB) or the Lottery. However, if they adhere to the restrictions, New Zealanders can legally play at online casinos, gambling sites, and sportsbooks from various companies from other countries

The New Zealand gambling laws are generally not aimed explicitly at penalizing gamblers but rather at the businesses taking part in gambling activities.

Game Rules

Apart from adhering to relevant regulations and the Gambling Act 2003, gambling operators must also adhere to specific rules for the games they provide. Game rules are a type of regulation, and lotteries, instant games, games of chance, and prize competitions each have their own. 

Games from all classes have a couple of rules covering them. Class 1, however, has fewer rules than classes 2 and 3. For example, significant rules apply across all lotteries, but class 3 level lotteries must meet ticket numbers, audit, and record retention requirements.

Prohibited Prizes

The Gambling Act regulations prohibit certain prize rewards, including liquor, firearms, and tobacco products. This regulation must be adhered to by all gambling operators. The New Zealand Legislation website provides a detailed list of prohibited prizes.

Remuneration and Commission

The Gambling Act 2003 specifies that a person conducting class 1 or 2 gambling should not receive a commission. On top of that, they cannot receive remuneration. Only an authorized society representative can if a society conducts gambling.

Gaming Technology Standards

Gaming technology falls under the Australian National Gaming Machine Standard, which dictates standard requirements regarding specifications, audibility, security and integrity, player information, and consumer protection. All these aim to regulate gambling activities and protect New Zealand gamblers.

New Zealand has several gambling restrictions, especially regarding finding the proper game. The Gambling Act 2003 does not entirely ban gambling but allows four types of gambling which fall into four classes. They give casinos an easier time when trying to provide New Zealanders games legally, and each has conditions.

Class 1 Gambling

The biggest prize you can win in one session cannot exceed NZ$500 for this class if the gambling operation runs under an individual, such as office sweepstakes; the entire profit from ticket sales, if lower than any required actual expenses, has to cater for the prizes. 

However, if a society runs it, it must apply the returns to warranted purposes. The activity must also adhere to applicable gambling rules. A license is, however, not required for gambling activity.

Class 2 Gambling

In this class, prizes obtained from a single session can be at most NZ$5,000, and the potential turnover must be at most NZ$25,000. Only society can run the gambling activity and must apply all the returns to warranted purposes. Consumer details must be described clearly at sale points, such as the society’s name, warranted purposes, entry closing dates, prizes, number of tickets with their retail values, and how or when draws will be made. 

The potential returns for the lottery are the number of printed tickets multiplied by the price of one ticket. This class does not require a license, but the gambling operations must adhere to applicable game rules.

Class 3 Gambling

The gambling prizes awarded or offered for one session in this class cannot exceed NZ$5,000. The typical class 3 games included instant games, housie, and large-scale lotteries. Only a society can run this class level, and if regular gambling, such as housie, then only a corporate society is authorized. The activities must adhere to applicable game rules, and operators can process tickets purchased through communication devices up to October 2024. 

Gaming machines can’t be directly or indirectly involved in gambling activity. This level requires a license, and the gambling activity must meet The Department of Internal Gambling Affairs' expectations regarding financial viability, minimized costs, and maximized community returns. The purpose must also aim at raising money for an accepted purpose.

Class 4 Gambling

Class 4 classifies as a high turnover and risky gambling using gaming machines. Only a corporate society can partake in it to raise funds for an authorized purpose, such as a non-commercial or community purpose. 

The returns must cater for authorized purposes such as charity, non-commercial, and promotion, control, and conduction of race meetings. Several rules govern participating and playing in Class 4 Gambling machines outside casinos and the processes, systems documentation, and information associated with specific games.


New Zealand gambling laws restrict domestic gambling operators from setting up online casinos but do not restrict New Zealanders from playing at casinos based outside the country. Totalisator Agency Board betting services and lottery purchases are the only domestic gambling allowed in New Zealand.


A lottery is any gambling activity involving random draws when all participants have entered. Sweepstakes and raffles are regular kinds of lotteries legal in New Zealand.

Private Gambling

Private is not a gambling class and isn't covered by the game rules of 2004 for every type of activity. Nonetheless, it must adhere to the act's definition or be considered illegal gambling and a crime worth persecuting all participants.

Private gambling is when a person gambles at a private address where:

  • Winners receive all the stakes placed as a reward.
  • It is mainly for entertainment or a social event.
  • The person conducting the activity does not receive remuneration, reward, or commission.
  • Individuals not residing at the address are not formally or informally induced to participate in gambling through a notice, advertisements, or other means.
  • All participants have equal winning chances.
  • Only the participant has a winning chance.
  • No individual directly or indirectly pays for the commission.
  • There is no deduction from the stakes or winnings of participants.


There are several gambling restrictions for all kinds of gambling activities allowed in New Zealand according to the Gambling Act 2003. Let's take a look:
- Individuals must be 18 or older to purchase scratch cars, play online casinos and the lottery and bet on horse races or sports.
- Individuals must be 20 or older to play at land-based casinos.
- Overseas online gambling providers cannot advertise in New Zealand through any form, and if they do, they are liable for a penalty.
- Gambling operators cannot provide liquor, firearms, or tobacco products as prizes.
- All proceeds from gambling purposes must be used for authorized purposes only.

Why This Direction is Suitable for New Zealand?

New Zealand gambling laws take a public health approach to gambling and accounts and address the benefits and costs of gambling to communities and individuals. 

It aims to create strategies that lower the adverse gambling effects while acquiring possible benefits. Returns accrued from non-commercial gambling significantly fund a wide range of community purposes.

People's Attitude Toward Gambling

Even with the gambling restrictions, New Zealanders understand the purpose of the Gambling Act 2003 is to lower and prevent gambling harm to individuals. According to a publication in 2015 by Gambling Addicts and addiction Center, 3 out of 4 males took part in all types of gambling online, 70% online, 60% in person at TAB, 86% in offshore poker gambling, and 82% land-based. 

Younger adults aged 18-44 participated in sports betting. Of all the gamblers who participated in the study, only 3.7% were land-based gamblers with problems, and 11.9% were problem gamblers for online offshore commercial poker. Many New Zealanders believe gambling is a legitimate and entertaining practice.

Useful Advices

All online gambling platforms always claim to be reputable, but just because they say they are, does not necessarily mean it is true. Online reputations are alterable to trick players into joining unreputable casinos. Always pay attention before clicking the signup button, and check out recommended sites first by reliable reviewers such as us. 

How to determine a gambling site’s reputation:
- Visit a review site.
- Search for the casino review on the site.
- Read through the review and take note of all the essential factors. 
- Alternatively, you can check user-based reviews on sites such as Trustpilot.
- Availability of proven payment methods such as Paysafecard, Prezzy card, POLi Pay


There are many New Zealand gambling restrictions, but they are all catered toward public safety from the harmful effects of online gambling. However, this only takes away some of the fun of playing because New Zealanders are allowed to play at offshore online casinos and land-based domestic casinos, including bettering on horse races and sports but at the legal age. The New Zealand online gambling world is buzzing with lots of opportunities.


What is the maximum win allowed when gambling in New Zealand?

The maximum amount you can win depends on the class level. NZ$500 for class 1 and NZ$5,000 for classes 2 and 3. All are applicable for one session.

Do New Zealanders need a license to gamble?

Yes, but depending on the gambling class. Class 1 and 2 do not require a license, class 3 needs one, and class 4 does not.

What types of gambling are illegal in New Zealand?

The Gambling Act 2003 probits remote interactive gambling and overseas gambling advertising.

Is online gambling prohibited in New Zealand?

Domestic online gambling in New Zealand casinos isn't allowed in New Zealand, but players can play at offshore online casinos without restrictions.

Is offline gambling prohibited in New Zealand?

No, land-based casinos and offline gambling are legal in New Zealand but must fall under the four classes or be private while following the requirements set for each.

John Gold

John Gold

Starting as a typical gambler, I was interested in how the industry works. And now, for more than 10 years, I see myself as a gambling expert. After trying out more than 500 pokies, I'm ready to share my insights and tell you what you need to look at to get a good gaming experience.