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The History and Current Gambling in New Zealand

October 3, 2019 Posted in News by No Comments

How Gambling Came to New Zealand

Today, gambling is a precious past time interwoven deep within the rest of the intricate pieces of New Zealand history. And, although such an impacting part of the culture has been around for centuries in New Zealand, gambling actually made its way here from another shore–Great Britain. Obviously, it’s safe to assume some form of betting took place throughout New Zealand’s history before these early settlers came along, but gambling in itself–along with an assortment of its most classic games, like blackjack–arrived with the first European settlers.

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Gambling stuck with the colonies there, just as securely as it has anywhere, but the Gambling Act of 1908 brought along some major changes and limitations to this beloved pastime. However, people’s passion for gambling relentlessly pressed on, until finally, the laws against it began to relax. In 1951, the Totalisator Agency Board introduced the Golden Kiwi Lottery, and this agency ultimately shaped gambling in New Zealand into what it is today–a strong, unstoppable network of devoted gamblers, great gambling establishments and the current groundbreaking transition into the world of online gambling. 

How Casinos Transitioned to Online in New Zealand

New Zealand is now home to a total of six extravagant land-based casinos ranging across the North and South islands, and currently, the country’s largest of these land-based casinos is located within the capital city of Auckland–the Sky City Casino. However, a precursor to these, and one that had paved the way for the multitude of land and online-based casino platforms existing in New Zealand is the very first land-based casino to exist in New Zealand–it was known as Christchurch, and it opened in 1994. Since the beginning, these successful land-based casinos have been providing numerous services to tourists and locals alike, not only providing legal gambling services but dining, entertainment and more. 

However, while these land based casinos still continue to attract the business, and as they have always held a beloved place in the hearts of every devoted gambler, another huge gambling platform was on the rise. Just as hard as the internet’s impact was felt in all other areas, it was the same with the world of gambling. Soon, gamblers everywhere were turning to a faster, more convenient way to play, and thus, online casinos swept the world. Even though the first online gambling sites popped up in the 1990’s, New Zealand gamblers’ seemed to remain hesitant about jumping on board with this online trend right away. But, even they couldn’t resist the powerful wave online gambling created, and eventually New Zealand was on board, too. 

Current Gambling Laws


Because of the immense popularity of online casinos that eventually swept across New Zealand, the government was forced to put two new gambling laws into place, laws in which revolutionized online gambling forever. These laws are known as the Gambling Act of 2003, and the Racing Act of 2003. Within these two laws, two major notions are clear: first, online gambling could remain legal so far as the casino could stay in NZ; and second, advertising for these online casinos was permanently banned. Kiwi gamblers have been living in peace since these established laws ever since, and have continued to enjoy their favorite games throughout both, the land-based and online casino realms.