New Zealand's Surge in Demand for Online Gambling

Written by:
Payton
Published on:
Mar/17/2023

The New Zealand gambling industry is thriving, and the country is home to some of the best land-based casinos in the world. There are currently six casinos in New Zealand, with pokies making up most of the games available at these land-based venues.

The nation has legalized lotteries, scratch cards and race betting in addition to casino gambling.  The law is a bit conflicted in terms of the age factor.  Those 18 and up can gamble but you must be at least 20 to enter a land-based casino in New Zealand.  Also those on a self-inclusion list are prohibited from entering such establishments.

In 2022, according to the New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs (DIA), gambling spending in the country at physical casinos was NZ$2.63 billion. This is a 17% increase from the previous year and the highest amount in the last five years.

While physical casinos are legal in the country, online casinos are not.

Fortunately, there is a way for New Zealanders to get their online gambling fix; through the use of offshore casino sites, many of which are dedicated to Kiwi players who can’t access online casinos at home.

If you’re a gambler in New Zealand who wants to start placing bets online, here is the "must-know" information about New Zealand’s gambling industry.

A Little More About New Zealand Gambling Laws

The country’s 2003 Gambling Act regulates gambling in New Zealand. This act governs all aspects of gambling in the country and allows all adults aged 18 and over to participate in horse and sports betting and lotteries. 

The Gambling Act also states that land-based casinos can exist; however, the law controls the number of casinos that exist in the country, which currently stands at six. And as noted above, New Zealanders must be 20 years of age or older to enter physical casinos.

In the Gambling Act 2003, casinos must follow a list of regulations to provide services. Some of these include gaining a license from the Gambling Commission and adhering to classes restricting how much a casino can award players.

While brick-and-mortar casinos exist in New Zealand, online casinos are not allowed if they are based in New Zealand. The only form of online gambling permitted in New Zealand is horse and sports betting and purchasing lottery tickets.

Fortunately, gamblers can play at offshore casinos with a valid license from a foreign gambling authority. If you’re keen on trying out online gambling in NZ, then you can learn more about online casinos in New Zealand here.

What is the most Popular Casino Game in New Zealand?

Whether New Zealanders gamble at physical casinos or remote offshore gambling sites, one thing remains the same: pokies are the most popular casino games.

Currently, there are around 18,000 slot machines based in casinos, pubs, and clubs around New Zealand. One of the main reasons these games are so popular is that they are simple to play and are far cheaper than table games like poker and baccarat. Plus, they are games of chance, so no skill or strategy is required to win considerable sums of money.

The payout odds are not among the greatest for land-based casino slots.  However, many of the online casinos catering to New Zealanders feature return to player (RTP) slots as high as 96%, some even higher.

According to the Gambling Act, slot machines are a Class 4 game, meaning a percentage of earnings made from these machines must be donated to community causes in New Zealand.

How much Money Does the NZ Gambling Industry make?

Thanks to the rise of online gambling sites available to New Zealanders, the gambling industry has seen rapid revenue growth. Coupled with physical casino earnings, it is believed that the NZ gambling industry made around $350 million in 2023, which is staggering.

Trends suggest that this figure will only increase, especially given that SkyCity, one of New Zealand’s largest physical casino brands, launched a remote online version in 2019.

What is the Future of Online Gambling in New Zealand?

Currently, there are no plans for the New Zealand government to legalize online gambling at NZ-based casino sites. Even though the online iGaming industry is extremely profitable, for now, Kiwi players are resigned to gambling at offshore casinos.

It is believed that soon, online gambling will become far more interactive. Now, players can participate in live casino games from studios worldwide and enjoy a real-life casino experience. 

Moreover, with the expansions of the Metaverse, many experts predict that soon enough, Augmented and Virtual reality software will be an integral part of the online casino experience for players from New Zealand and the rest of the world. We can’t wait to see what happens next!

- B.E. Delmer, Gambling911.com

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