Gambling is a popular pastime in New Zealand, with thousands of players across the country taking part in poker machines, sportsbetting and the lottery. While the land-based market continues to thrive, online gambling is becoming popular in New Zealand; however, the country’s laws make it difficult to know just how much of an impact online casinos have had on New Zealand’s overall gambling market.
All forms of gambling in New Zealand are regulated under the Gambling Act 2003, including online and land-based games. Before the Act was passed, online gambling was not regulated at all by the country’s government. Since online casino regulation is still relatively new, many politicians believe that there is still a long way to go before the country’s online gambling laws are up-to-date with the rest of the world.
Currently, online gambling is not allowed by New Zealand’s Gambling Act. However, authorities do not strictly enforce this law with offshore gambling operators. As such, many casino operators from other countries offer their services to New Zealand players without being prosecuted. So, many residents continue to play at offshore gambling websites despite the country’s laws, and New Zealand online casinos continue to thrive.
Under the Gambling Act 2003, there are only two companies that can offer online gambling services to residents. They are TabCorp and the New Zealand Lottery Commission. Each of these companies have their own online gambling websites, offering different services to players from across the country.
TabCorp is an online sportsbetting authority, which has a licensing deal with the New Zealand government. As such, the company can provide online sportsbetting activities to punters in the country. They are allowed to offer all types of betting except for live betting, which allows players to make wagers while games are taking place. TabCorp feels that it is losing out to offshore operators which continue to offer live betting to players, requesting that the law be changed by the New Zealand government. Politicians have yet to respond.
The New Zealand Lottery Commission currently only offers online lottery sales and casual games like bingo, keno and free casino games. Since the sale of lottery tickets online was legalized, the commission has seen a huge increase in sales and activity. While NZ Lotto only offers bingo and keno online, the commission may begin offering casino games at a later date. If the Gambling Act is reviewed, NZ Lotto may go the way of lottery commissions in Canada and across Europe, which offer online casino games and online poker in addition to online lottery sales.