Gambling is a hugely popular past time in New Zealand. It’s estimated that over $2 billion each year is spent on the activity and over 40% of adults bet on a semi-regular basis. Interestingly gambling was not really commercialised in New Zealand until the 1990s, but since then the industry has grown to such an extent that it’s had to be heavily regulated, with caps being put on the number of casinos and betting venues allowed in the country.
Online gambling has not escaped the regulatory powers that be in New Zealand, in fact, the government department of Internal Affairs brought out the Gambling Act of 2003 to deal with the growth in remote interactive Slot gambling in the country. The law is pretty straight forward, it states that any remote interactive gambling in New Zealand (internet, TV, telephone etc) must be operated by the TAB (Totalizator Agency Board) or the New Zealand Lotteries Commission. These are both government-run operations that are used for community fund-raising and are not for profit.
So players in New Zealand can gamble online through both these sources, but also the law states that it is not illegal for Kiwis to gamble at online casinos on foreign (overseas-based) sites. The reason for this is that New Zealand law cannot be enforced overseas and the government thought it would be impossible to enforce. However, it is illegal for overseas companies to advertise their product online and overseas sites can never run their operations from New Zealand.
The main thing for New Zealand online gamblers to be aware of is the fact that although it’s legal for them to play on overseas-based casinos, not all of them are trustworthy… Proper checks should always be taken out by online players before investing their hard-earned cash into a foreign gambling site. The reason for this is that as the sites are based overseas there is very little protection that can be offered to players if something goes wrong.
The recommend process for checking that a foreign-based site is legitimate is to look at the following areas; banking options, where the company is licensed, where the customer support is based, whether the company independently audited by a respected organisation (such as KPMG), how long have the company been in business for, what is their payment processing like and finally to do some research online to see if other Kiwis have played on the site and can recommend it.