Currently, New Zealand’s gambling market is thriving. In a country with a population of over 4.4 million people, New Zealand’s gambling market is worth billions of dollars. Playing casino games and electronic gaming machines are incredibly popular activities and, as such, they are heavily regulated by the government to ensure that players do not develop unhealthy gambling habits or fall victim to the dangers that lurk in unregulated markets.
All forms of gambling in New Zealand are regulated under either the Racing Act 2003 or the Gambling Act 2003. The racing act covers racing and sports betting while the Gambling Act covers casino games and poker. Gambling is only legal if it is regulated by either act or if it is private gambling, which includes games played at home or as part of social events. Private gambling is also legal if all players’ stakes and buy-ins are paid out as winnings.
There are four types of gambling in New Zealand. Class 1 and Class 2 gambling do not require operators to hold gambling licenses while Classes 3 and 4 do. Class 1 includes small-scale sweepstakes and fundraising, which means that the total prize pool cannot exceed more than $500. Class 3 gambling includes larger-scale fundraising, where the total prize pool exceeds $5000 and there is no limit on the amount of stakes.
Class 4 gambling has the most complex laws, as these rules regulate non-casino poker machines and other forms of ‘high-risk’ gambling. With Class 4 gambling games, there is a $2.50 limit on each play. These games cannot pay out more than $500 for a single play or more than $1000 for a single play on a progressive jackpot game.
The areas in which Class 4 gambling takes place are also highly regulated. Class 4 games can be carried out in a wide range of venues, but there are still many places in which they are illegal. These include supermarkets, offices, homes, fairs, internet cafés and museums. In areas where Class 4 gambling is permitted, automatic bank teller machines are not permitted. Operators of these venues must also provide patrons with information about problem gambling.
These regulations do not apply to games like online roulette, online poker or online slots. In New Zealand, online gambling activities have yet to be regulated by the government, so players must exercise caution when playing at online casinos. However, the governments of Australia and New Zealand are currently examining existing online gambling laws, so it is likely that regulation of that market will occur in the near future.