What Is The Law on Online Sports Betting and Gambling in New Zealand

What Is The Law on Online Sports Betting and Gambling in New Zealand?

Author: Anastas Todorov


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  • Is Gambling Permitted in New Zealand?
  • Exploring the Relative Legislation and Common Law Associated with Betting in the Country

The beautiful and innovative country of New Zealand has a strong history of suppressing sports betting through a plethora of strict statutory regulations which have been enacted to control most forms of gambling- including those exercised over the internet.

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A common loophole to the aforementioned ‘airtight’ statutory regulations in this area of practice is the established exception of remote gambling in cases where such gambling is offered by providers which are based outside New Zealand- a topic further explored below.

An Overview of the Facts: The Current Law

Gambling within New Zealand is mainly regulated via the Gambling Act (2003); this act combined: a) the Lotteries Act 1977, and b) the Casino Control Act 1990 into one single legal entity, and consequently paved the way towards the creation of one of the most predictable and reliable legal systems in relation to the gambling market. However, Racing and sports betting continues to be unilaterally handled in accordance with the Racing Act 2003– aside from cases which involve racing clubs or gaming machine operations.

It should also be noted that since the introduction of the Gambling Bill back in February of 2002 (and it’s royal ascension in September of 2003 which formed the Gambling Act), the New Zealand government enacted a plethora of amendments to proliferate the act’s efficacy. 

The aforementioned act was initially enacted in 2003 for a plethora of reasons, including:

  1. The minimisation/prevention of the negative externalities associated with the gambling industry,
  2. The placement of reasonable controls on the growth of gambling in New Zealand,
  3. The incentivisation of participants to gamble responsibly,
  4. The proliferation of the gambling sector’s integrity and fairness, and 
  5. The significant reduction in any potential opportunities for unconscionable conduct and crime within gambling. 

The Gambling Act 2003: A Further Analysis

All gambling within New Zealand is regulated via the Department of Internal Affairs, which is responsible for the enforcement of the aforementioned Gambling Act 2003. As briefly touched on above, the act solely regulates all aspects of gambling- with the only acceptable ones being those operating as ‘government lotteries’ and as ‘non-profit casinos’ which are operated by reputable charity organisations. 

Furthermore, the Act stipulates that any remote interactive gambling is directly prohibited, which effectively prevents all corporations within the country from either: a) advertising, or b) offering, any sort of gambling service. Unsurprisingly, this goes hand in hand with several other statutory provisions, including those which stipulate that any citizen of New Zealand is strictly prohibited from partaking in any source of gambling activity which is not authorised via the Gambling Act (mentioned above). 

However, it is crucial to understand that these provisions do not mean that all sports betting or gambling is automatically prohibited. As we will further discuss below, the Gambling Act 2003 only applies to the gambling activity that exists between New Zealand nationals and corporations based within New Zealand. Consequently, such a provision allows the citizens of New Zealand to legally engage in gambling/sport betting using foreign gambling corporations- particularly those over the internet.

So is Online Gambling Permitted in New Zealand?

Online gambling is completely legal within New Zealand, so long as the above clause of the Gambling Act is satisfied. Essentially, as long as the gambling party in questions chooses a bookmaker that is located outside of New Zealand- such as one located within a major European or British country,, online gambling is permitted within the country. 

This tends to be quite convenient, as foreign gambling companies seldom need to acquire a licence before having the option to accept New Zealanders. 

A Final Take: Put Simply

To briefly summarize, if you live in New Zealand and are interested in placing online sports bets or gambling in a legally, authorised and safe manner, always ensure that you choose gambling facilities which are not headquartered within the country. Doing so will ensure you satisfy all of the relative provisions of the aforementioned Gambling Act 2003 and consequently avoid any potential legal ramifications.

Suggested reading- Have you ever wondered who are the most famous people in New Zealand? You can see this over here: New Zealand Celebrities: 10 of the most famous 

About the author

Anastas Todorov

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