Legality of Online Gambling in New Zealand
The online gambling laws in New Zealand are a little unorthodox, to say the least. In fact, they are very similar to the online gambling laws in neighbouring Australia and were no doubt influenced by them, as the NZ Gambling Act was signed in 2003, just 2 years after a similar act was established in Australia.Technically, online gambling is illegal in New Zealand. A NZ site is not allowed to offer services to NZ players, or anyone else for that matter. The same is true for online poker, even though it is considered a game of skill in many other countries and is therefore exempt from the same tough restrictions enforced upon gambling. But here’s the kicker…
Online gambling is legal if the casino is based and regulated outside of New Zealand. It seems counterintuitive, but it’s true, and it’s also a quirk that can be seen in many other countries.
Simply put, while you cannot find a legal online casino based in New Zealand and offering its services to New Zealand players, you won’t have an issue finding one outside of the country. And these casinos don’t simply turn a blind eye to all Kiwis who want to join, they actively encourage them, knowing that they are legally allowed to do so and also understanding just what NZ players can bring to the table.
Benefits of Playing Online Casinos in New Zealand
As a Kiwi, online casinos provide you with options that you just can’t get offline. There are just 6 casinos operating in New Zealand, most of which are owned by the same parent company, SkyCity. These casinos are great fun and provide hundreds of tables, pokies, and other features, but a monopoly by its nature means that competition is weak, which means your options for bonuses, perks, and other features are limited.
Online, it’s a different story. Online casinos are offered by dozens of major brands and span hundreds of different casinos. All of these are in direct competition with one another and they all know that if they don’t provide you with exactly what you need, you will start looking elsewhere. As a result, online casinos in New Zealand tend to offer:
- More Pokies: Every casino wants to have the biggest and best pokies. They understand how devoted New Zealanders are to these games, and so they add hundreds and even thousands of them to their sites. In the early days, casinos had fewer than 100 pokies. As little as 5 years ago, the average number was closer to 300. These days, casinos aren’t happy with anything less than 1,000 and some have more than 3,000!
- More Bonuses: A big Welcome Bonus to draw the players in; a generous Loyalty Bonus to keep them there. That’s the motto that many NZ-facing casinos abide by and it’s one that creates endless options for players of all stake levels.
- Better Payment Options: Offering basic banking services and hoping everyone will adapt is not acceptable anymore. Players have the luxury of choice, and if a casino doesn’t have their favourite payment method, they will keep on looking until they find one that does. The best online casinos have dozens of different methods, including web wallets, digital currencies, and more that create a fine list of low deposit casinos too!
- Unique Methods: A sign of a good New Zealand casino is one that offers payment methods like POLi, as this can only be used in Aus and NZ and its inclusion proves the site is catering to players in the southern hemisphere.
Are New Zealand Casinos Safe?
New Zealand casinos are not licensed by any authority in New Zealand, but they are licensed outside of this country by regulatory agencies backed by the government.
Some of the biggest online casinos available to players in NZ are licensed by authorities in the United Kingdom, Gibraltar, and Malta, all of which require their licensees to abide by strict rules and regulations. This guarantees that every site and transaction is safe and that every game is fair, giving players in New Zealand and all over the world some much-needed peace of mind.
In the unlikely event that you have an issue with any of these online casinos, you can complain to the regulator. Even if you’re based in New Zealand and the regulator is based in Europe or Central America, they are still required to listen to your complaint and to mediate it.
This is especially true for casinos with regulatory licenses in the United Kingdom and Sweden, as the authorities are much stricter in those territories. Many of these casinos also have their own complaints departments, and thanks to casino review sites and mediation services they often go out of their way to appease players and avoid the backlash they would receive.
The Most Popular Games and Bets in New Zealand
New Zealanders are hooked on pokies, known to the rest of the world as “slot machines”. These are some of the most varied games in the iGaming sector, with thousands of titles created by dozens of big-name developers, including the likes of Betsoft, NetEnt, Microgaming, Playtech, Yggdrasil, and more.
New Zealanders grew up playing pokies in clubs, bars, and on casino floors, and online pokies are more advanced, eclectic, and feature-rich versions of these offline variants. You can spin anywhere from dozens of reels to thousands of reels and there are features such as Free Spins, Choose-Me Rounds, Progressive Jackpots, and a host of other mini-games.
All casinos have at least a few hundred of these games available and the bigger ones have thousands. Sign up for a New Zealand casino today to experience this incredible selection for yourself.