New Zealand 2003 Gambling Act to be Updated With Other Reforms

New Zealand 2003 gambling act to be updated with other reforms

Do you know about the New Zealand 2003 Gambling Act? New Zealand punters love to play pokies at casinos or table games and gamble on other casino games. It is estimated that more than NZ$381m ($244m) has been bet through offshore online gambling operators over the past 18 months in 2018-2019.

This includes online sportsbooks and casinos. This shows that online gambling is on the rise in NZ as Kiwis are fond of playing poker with their mobiles, even on the go. But many things cause concern for the government.

The government of New Zealand does not want to create problem gamblers in the country and is reviewing the New Zealand 2003 Gambling Act to make it more current in this digital age.

Four Different Potential Reforms – New Zealand 2003 Gambling Act

New Zealand gambling reforms
Four different potential reforms

The Department of Internal Affairs NZ will review the New Zealand 2003 Gambling Act and make certain reforms. Officials are proposing four different potential reform options.

Three of the four options would grant New Zealanders access to more gambling products. The final option proposes keeping things the way they are currently.

1. Tab and Lotto NZ To Offer Online Casinos

TAB and Lotto NZ to offer online casinos
TAB and Lotto NZ to offer online casinos

TAB and Lotto are the only legal online gambling operators currently operating in New Zealand. Therefore, to try and get New Zealanders to stop using offshore gambling platforms, one of the reforms would allow these two providers to add more gambling options, such as an online casino.

As more and more states across the world are legalizing online gambling. The worldwide market for the activity is set to double from 2017 to 2024. The two operators in New Zealand have been trying to keep up with demand from gamblers. This saw them introduce Texas Hold’em poker, online scratchies in January, and more extensive live streaming options.

TAB’s digital platforms account for 60% of its total betting turnover. Their mobile platform is proliferating, with its popularity has increased by 59% in the latest period.

They have been rolling out extensive advertising campaigns to try and attract new customers. According to the TAB annual report, this led to nearly 80,000 first-time bettors signing up for accounts. 

While there would likely be voluntary compliance for this option, according to the DIA, it would be good for New Zealanders as they would have access to better odds and promotions due to the competition.

2. More Licenses to NZ Operators

More licenses to NZ operators
More licenses to NZ operators

Another reform would see more casino licenses being handed out in New Zealand for gambling operators. They will also look at increasing awareness about problem gambling, as well as committing more funds towards problem gambling treatment programs.

The New Zealand government committed an additional NZ$60m ($39m) to fund problem gambling services at the start of 2019. For a relatively small country, they spend a lot more per capita on problem gambling than most major nations.

3. Offshore Casinos To Get License From NZ

Spin Casino Mobile bonus
Offshore casinos to get a license from NZ.

The third expansion proposal would see international operators being able to apply for a license in New Zealand. Also, one of the options is to ban or heavily restrict the way people use credit cards to add funds to online gambling accounts. The government will also look into banning certain platforms from being accessed through public wifi.

The authorities are also trying their best to stop residents from accessing illegal offshore online gambling platforms. While New Zealanders can legally use offshore platforms to gamble, some of these platforms have New Zealand domains, which is not legal.

The authorities sent requests to 13 operators to close their New Zealand website addresses with immediate effect.

4. Problem Gambling Protections

Problem Gambling NZ
Problem Gambling Protections

Besides the above reforms, the government of New Zealand also proposes to protect the problem gamblers in the country.  According to the Ministry of Health, there are low numbers of gamblers who are calling them for help with online gambling.

However, a spokesperson for the Problem Gambling Foundation (PGF) believes this is because it is still a relatively new sector in New Zealand.

The PGF spokesperson said: “The very nature of online gambling is hidden – you can carry around a betting agency in your pocket. You can gamble in bed, at work, or on the toilet.

” While the Internal Affairs department in New Zealand is seeking to potentially expand the scope of the country’s two gambling operators, they are also making some strides to protect problem gamblers.

This is just scratching the surface, according to the Problem Gambling Foundation. They are in support of the credit card restrictions, but they are still calling for tougher measures.

The last amendment of Problem Gambling under the 2003 Gambling Act happened in March 2015 and is expected to take another update this year.
To support this, the Gambling (Harm Prevention and Minimization) Regulations, according to the last amendment is:

  • Restrictions on venues suitable for operating gaming machines
  • No automated teller machines (ATMs) are allowed in the gambling area of a venue
  • Maximum stake and prize limits for gaming machines
  • A feature on each gaming machine that interrupts play at intervals of not more than 30 minutes of continuous play (the messages display information about the duration of play, amount of money spent, and net wins or losses)
  • Restrictions on jackpot branding and advertising
  • Requirement to give venue staff problem gambling awareness training
  • Requirement to make information about problem gambling available to patrons
  • The ability for venue staff to issue exclusion orders to patrons
  • Gamblers can also request a Multi Venue Exclusion if they want to be excluded from more than one gambling venue.


Finally, it is hoped that the above updates and reforms will help Kiwi punters regulate their pokies play to some extent and save themselves from the losses they experience while playing pokies or the addiction they get into playing more.


Why is the New Zealand government reviewing the Gambling Act?

The government is concerned about the rise in online gambling, particularly through offshore platforms.

The review aims to update the legislation to address issues such as problem gambling, offshore operators, and the changing landscape of digital gambling.

What potential reforms are being considered for the Gambling Act?

Four potential reforms are being considered, including granting TAB and Lotto NZ the ability to offer online casinos, issuing more casino licenses to New Zealand operators, allowing international operators to apply for licenses, and implementing measures to protect problem gamblers.

How does the first reform affect online gambling in New Zealand?

The first reform proposes allowing TAB and Lotto NZ to offer online casinos, providing more gambling options to New Zealanders and potentially reducing the use of offshore gambling platforms.

What is the second reform regarding casino licenses?

The second reform considers issuing more casino licenses to New Zealand operators, focusing on increasing awareness about problem gambling and allocating funds to treatment programs.

How does the third reform involve offshore casinos?

The third reform suggests allowing international operators to apply for a license in New Zealand.

Additionally, measures may be taken to restrict the use of credit cards for online gambling and block certain platforms on public wifi.

How is the government addressing problem gambling concerns?

The government is taking steps to protect problem gamblers by considering measures such as credit card restrictions, banning specific platforms from public wifi, and implementing problem gambling protections, despite potential expansions in the gambling sector.

When was the last amendment to the Problem Gambling regulations under the Gambling Act?

The last amendment to the Problem Gambling regulations under the 2003 Gambling Act occurred in March 2015, and further updates are expected this year to address evolving challenges in the gambling landscape.

About the author

Kamal Kaur

Kamal Kaur

Kamal Kaur has been an integral voice in the New Zealand gaming landscape for years.

As a senior writer for PokiesMobile NZ, Kamal brings rich experiences from her diverse background.

Born in India and later migrating to New Zealand, she effortlessly blends her cultural insights with a deep love for gaming.

Kamal is renowned for her in-depth game analysis, player strategies, and knack for spotting industry trends.