Legal Sports Report

NZ Online Sports Betting Sites

New Zealand permits certain forms of online gambling. Sports betting, racing and lotteries are the main segments of online gambling that are specifically legal. These are operated under the Totalisator Agency Board, a division of the New Zealand Racing Board.

New Zealand Online Sports Betting Sites

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How this affects offshore companies

Like Australia’s Gambling Act, the one in New Zealand only covers activities that originate within the country’s border. This includes hosting online gambling sites, as well as promoting them over the Internet and other forms of media. This rule is not believed to be enforceable against gambling sites that accept New Zealand players but are not located in the country.

This means that the best poker, casino and sports betting sites are available to New Zealanders. This includes our most recommended sports books; Betway, William Hill, Bet365 and Ladbrokes. Each of these companies offers a wide menu of sports betting, online poker and casino games.

Gambling Act does not affect players

The Gambling Act is directed at commercial entities. The people that make up the house or marketing aspects must abide by the law. It does not apply to gamblers in any way. There is no concern about players losing funds or encountering legal problems when participating in online gambling.

New Zealand Gambling Act

Online gambling in New Zealand is covered by the Gambling Act. It passed in 2003. It prohibits most forms of gambling. Part II, Sup part 2, Section 9 states:

9 Gambling prohibited

(1) Gambling is prohibited and illegal unless it is—

(a) authorised by or under this Act and complies with this Act and any relevant licence, game rules, and minimum standards; or

(b) authorised by or under the Racing Act 2003 and complies with that Act and any regulations made under it; or

(c) private gambling.

(2) The following types of gambling are prohibited and illegal and are not authorised by and may not be authorised under this Act:

(a) bookmaking:

(b) remote interactive gambling.

The Gambling Act also forbids any expansion of gambling beyond what was active in 2003. This includes the expansion of existing and addition of new casinos and is believed to cover gaming over the Internet if the activity is not specifically authorized. The New Zealand Racing Board is exempted from this part of the Gambling Act. The Gambling Act also banned the issuing of credit to gamblers.

The Gambling Act restricts companies operating on New Zealand soil from accepting players from the country on prohibited games. Online poker and casino games are the two main segments this covers as sports betting and racing are administered by the racing board.

16 Advertising overseas gambling prohibited

(1) A person must not publish or arrange to publish, in New Zealand, an overseas gambling advertisement.

(2) Subsection (1) does not apply to publishing or arranging to publish—

(a) a health message concerning gambling; or

(b) an advertisement for services to prevent, minimise, or treat harm; or

(c) a message about preventing, minimising, or treating harm; or

(d) an advertisement for gambling equipment intended for distribution only to buyers of gambling equipment; or

(e) an advertisement in which the publicising or promotion of gambling or a gambling operator is incidental to the purpose of the advertisement.

(3) A person who contravenes subsection (1) commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $10,000.

(4) The Governor-General may, by Order in Council, restrict the application of this section, if satisfied that an order is necessary to enable New Zealand to comply with its international obligations relating to trade in services that are or will become binding on New Zealand.

This part of the Gambling Act forbids the advertisement of offshore gaming sites. It also covers marketing affiliates that promote gambling sites that are not located in New Zealand. That means a person or company promoting online poker and casino games in New Zealand, if located in the country, is considered a crime.

Play money gambling sites may advertise

One interesting legal case under the Gambling Act involved Rational Group, parent company of PokerStars at the time. In 2010, The Department of Internal Affairs filed suit against Rational Group.

The suit alleged that PokerStars was being promoted for real money gaming. Rational Group was using the PokerStars.net domain in its advertisements. That is a play money poker site. No real money games are available at that website.  Those are found at PokerStars.com.

District Court Judge David Harney ruled that PokerStars.net was not a gambling site. This meant that Rational Group was not in violation of the Gambling Act.

New Zealand online betting FAQ

Is online sports betting legal in New Zealand?

Yes. TAB operates the only one within New Zealand. Many other operators offer sports betting services from other countries over the Internet.

Is online horse racing legal in New Zealand?

Yes. It falls under the same rules and regulations as sports betting.

Which websites accept sports bets from New Zealand?

In addition to TAB, William Hill, Ladbrokes, Betway and Bet365 all accept New Zealand players.

Is live betting legal in New Zealand?

Yes. Live betting is legal over the Internet and on mobile apps.

Is online poker legal in New Zealand?

It is legal to play online poker in New Zealand.

Are online casino games legal in New Zealand?

It is legal to play online casino games in New Zealand.

What is TAB?

TAB is the acronym for Totalisator Agency Board. It is a division of the New Zealand Racing Board. It is the sports betting and racing corporation for the New Zealand government.

John Mehaffey
John Mehaffey -

John is a writer for multiple gaming poker publications, including USPoker.com and PlayNJ.com. Read more from John by following @John_Mehaffey on Twitter.