Here, we rank and review the best Kiwi online casinos for real money. We also cover the legal aspects of gambling for real money in New Zealand.
New Zealand has a straightforward way of dealing with gambling. The laws are relatively clear cut, and yet it can, at times, be confusing to understand just what you are permitted to play if you aren’t aware of them. Fortunately, to help you in understanding the ins and outs of New Zealand’s gambling laws, as well as what makes a top New Zealand casino, we’ve put together this handy page. With that in mind, let’s start by examining those gambling laws and straightening things out for you.
Can I Gamble Online in New Zealand?
New Zealand’s gambling regulations predominantly come from three different authorities. There is the Department of Internal Affairs; there is the Gambling Commission of New Zealand and the New Zealand Lotteries Commission. Between these organisations, New Zealanders are permitted to gamble on horse racing, lotteries, sports betting and any forms of gambling which take place at New Zealand’s licensed land-based venues.
Officially, gambling online in New Zealand is not legal. However, there is no official law which says so. Instead, the rules only stipulate that New Zealand gambling enterprises cannot offer their services to locals. There is no law preventing New Zealander players from betting at the so-called offshore or foreign casinos. This then is where most players head to.
A Brief Look at the Gambling Laws in New Zealand
Gambling in New Zealand dates to the 1800s when Westerners first appeared there. Betting on sports and other forms of gambling were largely illegal until 1961, save for bets on horse racing. In the 1980s, the New Zealand parliament decided to legalise many forms of online gambling, including lotteries and brick-and-mortar casinos. Pokies (slots) also became legal in 1994.
Of course, these laws were written at a time when online gambling was either non-existent or in its infancy. In 2003, the Gambling Act was brought forward, which made it illegal to bet on anything unless the New Zealand Government had first sanctioned it. This is the primary reason why New Zealand operators cannot cater to players in the country. Naturally, New Zealand has no jurisdiction on offshore or foreign casinos, which is why New Zealanders often turn to those sites.
This presents its challenges. New Zealand can, in theory, prosecute those offshore and foreign operators who offer services to New Zealanders. However, they have never really done so. New Zealand doesn’t blacklist those sites, either, leaving their players free to visit, sign-up and play at such casino sites.
Online Gambling in New Zealand
The current New Zealand gambling laws have been amended several times. For instance, in 2018, the National Lottery in New Zealand started operations online. However, no other New Zealand-based sites have followed suit.
As mentioned, New Zealand’s gambling acts do not prevent players from joining foreign sites. Moreover, there is no punishment in store for New Zealanders who choose to sign up and play their favourite pokies and table games at these sites. So are not actually breaking any of New Zealand’s laws when you decide to do this, so it isn’t even illegal to play at those sites based abroad.
This has its perks, and it is worthwhile exploring a few of those next.
Why Play at a New Zealand Online Casino?
New Zealanders will find several perks to playing at offshore and foreign casino sites. Amongst the reasons why you might choose to do so are…
- Access to a Wealth of Sites: Because New Zealanders are essentially free to play at offshore casinos, the range of domains they can choose to sign up at is vast. There are thousands of casinos out there, including both excellent and poor kinds. New Zealanders can access the lot.
- The Pick of the Litter: New Zealanders will generally get the pick of the litter, as mentioned above. However, with so many betting sites to choose from, it is essential that Kiwis only opt to play at the most secure and fairest domains. There is a near-endless supply of these, too. This is in contrast with players in other countries, such as the USA, where the market of available offshore casinos is dominated by less secure sites.
- Great Games from Leading Providers: New Zealand casinos will typically feature games from all the leading providers of titles. This means that you can expect to find titles from Microgaming, Playtech, Net Entertainment, Evolution Gaming and other leading developers. Again, this is in contrast with countries such as the USA, where the less reputable RTG and Rival Gaming dominate the market.
- Support and Assistance: New Zealand casinos typically offer around the clock support and assistance, and in English no less. This support may be offered via telephone, live chat or e-mail. Social media assistance may also be available, with players able to access this support around the clock and free of charge.
- Top Deposit and Casino Bonuses: Because New Zealanders can choose from so many casinos, they will naturally have a wealth of bonuses and promotions open to them. These don’t just include welcome bonuses. They can consist of re-deposit deals, free spins on pokies, tournaments, competitions, prize draws, and loyalty offers, amongst many other top deals and bonuses.
Finding the Best New Zealand Online Casinos
We should clarify something before we dive into the best New Zealand online casinos. When we refer to New Zealand casinos, we’re not actually talking about casinos which are licensed in New Zealand. As mentioned, there are none. Instead, New Zealand casinos are sites which are based offshore in other countries but excel at providing their services to players in the twin-island nation.
It is these offshore and foreign casinos where New Zealanders will find a plethora of titles to play. However, what makes an ideal New Zealand online casino. Let’s find out…
- Safe, Licensed and Secure: Ultimately, it is essential that the domain you choose to play at is licensed, secure and regulated. Casinos licensed out of Curacao are not regulated. In this case, the best New Zealand sites are those which are licensed out of the UK, Malta and Gibraltar, as they have the strictest regulations.
- New Zealand Dollars: As well as gameplay being available in English, you’re also going to want to be able to deposit using your currency of choice. The New Zealand dollar (NZD) is accepted at most major New Zealand online casinos, and this is an important thing to look for.
- Pokies Aplenty: Why play games from such a small collection? The very best New Zealand online casinos will carry a host of top pokie machines from a myriad of casino software developers. You should be looking for several hundred games here, with over 10-20 software providers represented.
- Mobile-Friendly, Instant Play Action: It is also important that if you want to play your favourite pokies on the go that you can do that. Any good New Zealand casino worth its salt will provide you with either an instant play (browser-based) domain which is mobile-friendly or a dedicated mobile app. Sometimes, you’ll get both under one roof.
- Multiple Betting Options: Why sign up to play at various websites if you like to spread your bets? New Zealanders love a punt on sports betting games, as well as casino titles. The very best New Zealand casino domains will offer a variety of different gambling options all under one roof, saving you the trouble of having to sign-up for multiple accounts at several websites.
Yours Questions Answered: Our FAQ Guide on New Zealand Online Casino Gambling
You can find answers to a variety of commonly asked questions about New Zealand online casino gaming below:
- How do I pick the best New Zealand online casino?
The simplest method is to use the casinos which appear right here on this site. Failing that, look for the same criteria as listed above, and you’re sure to come across some top-quality New Zealand online casinos.
- Is it illegal for me to play at an online casino in New Zealand?
Yes and no. If the casino is based in New Zealand, then yes. However, these sites don’t exist (or they shouldn’t do), so if you play at an online casino which is licensed elsewhere, such as the UK, there is no law preventing you from gambling online.
- How old do I have to be to gamble in New Zealand?
New Zealand’s legal gambling age is set to 20 years to enter land-based casino establishments, and 18 years of age for lotteries, scratch cards and sports betting, including horse racing. There is no legal online gambling, as casino gaming on the internet is technically not legal in New Zealand.
- Can I trust offshore casinos?
The answer to this basic question varies, depending on the site you opt to play at. If you choose to play at our recommended New Zealand casinos or those which fit the criteria listed above, then they are safe. Other casinos may or may not be reliable.
- What deposit/withdrawal methods can I use at New Zealand casinos?
New Zealanders will frequently deposit using VISA, MasterCard, Neteller and Skrill, like players in many other countries. However, New Zealand is one of only a few major countries where PayPal can be used to gamble online. EcoPayz, Entropay, Euteller and Paysafecard are often used to deposit, too.
- Can I claim bonuses at New Zealand casinos?
Almost all major New Zealand online casinos offer bonuses and promotions. Which ones you can claim will vary from site to site. Most domains will provide a welcome bonus to new, depositing players. However, the best sites will go far beyond that and have fair terms and conditions attached to those offers, to boot.