Gambling is a popular and diverse form of entertainment in New Zealand, with many options available for players, such as lotteries, casinos, sports betting, pokies, and online gambling. However, gambling also comes with potential risks and harms, such as addiction, crime, fraud, and underage gambling. Therefore, it is important to have a clear and consistent legal framework that regulates and controls gambling activities in the country.
The NZ Gambling Act 2003 is the main legislation that governs gambling in New Zealand. It aims to balance the social and economic benefits of gambling with the prevention and minimization of gambling-related harm. It also sets out the roles and responsibilities of various agencies and organizations involved in the gambling sector.
In this article, we will explain everything you need to know about the NZ Gambling Act 2003, including its purpose, scope, key provisions, amendments, and implications for players and operators. We will also provide some useful resources and links for further information.
The Purpose of the NZ Gambling Act 2003
The NZ Gambling Act 2003 was enacted on 18 September 2003 and came into force on 1 July 2004. It replaced the Gaming and Lotteries Act 1977 and the Casino Control Act 1990, which were outdated and inconsistent with the changing nature and technology of gambling.
The purpose of the NZ Gambling Act 2003 is to:
- Control the growth of gambling
- Prevent and minimize harm caused by gambling
- Authorise some gambling and prohibit the rest
- Facilitate responsible gambling
- Ensure the integrity and fairness of games
- Limit opportunities for crime or dishonesty associated with gambling
- Ensure that money from gambling benefits the community
- Facilitate community involvement in decisions about the provision of gambling
To achieve this purpose, the NZ Gambling Act 2003 establishes a comprehensive regulatory system that covers various aspects of gambling, such as:
- The classification of different types of gambling
- The licensing and certification of gambling operators and venues
- The rules and standards for gambling equipment and software
- The distribution and application of gambling proceeds
- The enforcement and compliance of gambling laws
- The research and education on gambling issues
- The provision of problem gambling services
The Scope of the NZ Gambling Act 2003
The NZ Gambling Act 2003 applies to all forms of gambling in New Zealand, except for racing betting conducted by TAB NZ under the Racing Industry Act 2020. It also applies to remote interactive gambling conducted by overseas operators that targets New Zealanders.
The NZ Gambling Act 2003 defines gambling as an activity that involves:
- Staking money or money’s worth on an outcome that depends wholly or partly on chance
- Paying or staking money or money’s worth to participate in an activity that has a prize or is presented as having a prize
- Paying or staking money or money’s worth to participate in an activity that involves elements of skill or chance
The NZ Gambling Act 2003 classifies gambling into four classes based on the turnover, prizes, costs, and purposes involved. These are:
- Class 1 gambling: Small-scale gambling conducted by individuals for personal entertainment or recreation. No license is required.
- Class 2 gambling: Small-scale non-commercial gambling conducted by societies for charitable or community purposes. No license is required but certain rules apply.
- Class 3 gambling: Large-scale non-commercial gambling conducted by societies for charitable or community purposes. A class 3 operator’s license is required.
- Class 4 gambling: Non-casino gaming machine (pokie) gambling conducted by societies for charitable or community purposes. A class 4 operator’s license and a venue license are required.
The NZ Gambling Act 2003 also regulates casino gambling, which is defined as any form of gambling conducted in a casino under a casino operator’s license. There are currently six casinos operating in New Zealand under the Casino Control Act 1990.
The Key Provisions of the NZ Gambling Act 2003
The NZ Gambling Act 2003 contains many provisions that affect both players and operators of gambling activities. Some of the key provisions are:
- Gambling prohibition: The general rule is that all forms of gambling are prohibited unless authorized by or under this Act.
- No more casinos: No new casino venue agreements can be entered into after the commencement of this Act.
- No increase in casino gambling: No increase in casino table games or gaming machines can be authorized after the commencement of this Act.
- Legality of gambling contracts: Gambling contracts are legal and enforceable unless they are contrary to public interest.
- Providing credit for gambling: It is illegal to provide credit for gambling, except for certain circumstances such as cheque cashing facilities or credit cards.
- Advertising overseas gambling: It is illegal to advertise any gambling that is conducted outside New Zealand or by a person who is outside New Zealand, unless authorized by the Secretary of Internal Affairs.
- Sales promotion schemes: Sales promotion schemes that involve an element of chance are authorized, provided that they meet certain criteria such as having a free entry option and not being misleading or deceptive.
- Problem gambling levy: A levy is imposed on the profits of gambling operators to fund problem gambling services and research.
- Gambling harm prevention and minimization: The Act requires gambling operators, venues, and regulators to take various measures to prevent and minimize harm caused by gambling, such as providing information, self-exclusion options, host responsibility policies, and harm minimization plans.
The Amendments to the NZ Gambling Act 2003
The NZ Gambling Act 2003 has been amended several times since its enactment to reflect the changes and developments in the gambling sector. Some of the major amendments are:
- The Gambling Amendment Act 2005: This amendment introduced a number of changes, such as clarifying the definition of remote interactive gambling, allowing the Secretary of Internal Affairs to issue game rules for class 4 gambling, and establishing a new system for distributing net proceeds from class 4 gambling.
- The Gambling Amendment Act (No 2) 2015: This amendment made a number of changes, such as allowing societies to merge their class 4 licenses, increasing the transparency and accountability of class 4 operators and grant recipients, and strengthening the enforcement and compliance powers of the Secretary of Internal Affairs.
- The Gambling Amendment Act 2016: This amendment made a number of changes, such as allowing class 4 operators to use electronic monitoring systems for gaming machines, allowing class 4 venues to relocate under certain circumstances, and allowing the Secretary of Internal Affairs to issue infringement notices for minor breaches of the Act.
- The Racing Industry Act 2020: This amendment repealed the Racing Act 2003 and established a new regulatory framework for the racing industry in New Zealand. It also clarified the status of TAB NZ and racing clubs as class 4 operators.
The Implications for Players and Operators
The NZ Gambling Act 2003 has significant implications for both players and operators of gambling activities in New Zealand. Some of the implications are:
- Players have more choices and opportunities to gamble legally and safely in New Zealand, as long as they follow the rules and regulations of the Act.
- Players have more protection and support from gambling-related harm, as they can access information, services, and resources to help them gamble responsibly and seek help if needed.
- Players have more confidence and trust in the integrity and fairness of gambling activities, as they are regulated and monitored by independent agencies and organisations.
- Operators have more clarity and certainty about their rights and obligations under the Act, as they can comply with the standards and requirements set by the authorities.
- Operators have more responsibility and accountability for their gambling activities, as they have to pay fees, levies, taxes, and penalties for their operations and contribute to the community from their profits.
- Operators have more flexibility and innovation in their gambling activities, as they can adapt to the changing needs and preferences of their customers and stakeholders.
Resources and Links
If you want to learn more about the NZ Gambling Act 2003, you can visit the following websites:
- The Department of Internal Affairs: This is the government agency responsible for administering and enforcing most aspects of the Act. It provides information, guidance, forms, reports, statistics, and news on gambling in New Zealand.
- The Gambling Commission: This is an independent statutory body that deals with casino licensing, appeals on licensing decisions, game rules for casino games, minimum operating standards for casinos, casino fees and levies. It also provides information, decisions, publications, consultations, and complaints on casino gambling.
- The Health Promotion Agency: This is a Crown entity that leads national health promotion initiatives on various issues, including problem gambling. It provides information, resources, campaigns, research, evaluation, advice, and funding on problem gambling prevention and minimisation.
- The Problem Gambling Foundation: This is a non-governmental organisation that provides free counselling, support groups, education programmes, advocacy services, research projects, and public awareness campaigns on problem gambling. It also operates a national helpline (0800 664 262) that offers confidential help for anyone affected by problem gambling.
The Gambling Act 2003 is the main law that regulates gambling in New Zealand. It covers the types, requirements and prohibitions of gambling activities, as well as the roles and responsibilities of gambling operators and regulators. The Act aims to prevent and minimise the harm caused by gambling, ensure fair and honest gambling, and facilitate community involvement in decisions about gambling. The Act also affects online gambling, which is generally prohibited unless it is offered by the New Zealand Lotteries Commission or TAB NZ. If you are looking for a safe online casino in NZ, you should check the legality and reputation of the casino before you play. You should also look for top paying online casinos NZ that offer fast and secure payouts, generous bonuses and a wide range of games. Some of the best new online casinos NZ that meet these criteria are listed on our website. You can compare and choose the fastest payout online casino NZ that suits your preferences and enjoy a thrilling and responsible gambling experience.