In 2020, the majority of casino action worldwide has gone online. Many new casinos pop up every day, while casinos that used to exist in brick-and-mortar establishments are also establishing online versions of themselves. The same global phenomenon has been replicated in New Zealand. The number of online casinos and people playing in them grows by the day.
Like the rest of the world, however, the legislation that governs online casinos in New Zealand remains largely grey. There hasn’t been a law passed to expressly regulate online gambling, making it difficult to know what is legal and what isn’t without digging a bit deep. With this article we at casinoexperts.nz seeks to shed more light on that area.
Which Laws Control Online Gambling in New Zealand?
Online gambling in New Zealand is controlled by the recent gambling laws- The Gambling Act of 2003. The act was passed in a bid to control the growth of the gambling practice and also promote responsible gambling. Its main forms of control included defining legal and illegal gambling activities, setting gambling limits, age limits, and checking the harm caused by the practice.
Of significance to online gambling is that the act outlaws remote gambling. In essence, thus, the law in New Zealand bans online gambling. But there is a catch. The provisions that prohibit remote gambling are only specific about placing bets in establishments within the country. That means that New Zealanders are technically free to place bets in offshore online casinos without committing an offense.
And this they do with much enthusiasm. The New Zealand culture is not very strict on issues like gambling; New Zealanders love a good time, and they seek it in online casinos. There are offshore online companies that offer services within the country, with some of them even transacting in New Zealand dollars.
Who Regulates Gambling in New Zealand?
As per the 2003 Gambling Act, the Department of Internal Affairs is responsible for the regulation of all gambling activities. It takes care of all matters to do with the legality of the practice. The Gambling Commission and The Lotteries Commission are the specific dockets within the department that control gaming. Furthermore, the Ministry of Health is mandated to take care of people who develop gambling problems.
The Future of Online Gambling in New Zealand
The legal bodies in New Zealand are well aware of the existing gaps in online gambling regulation, and they continue to actively look for ways to seal them. As recently as 2019, there have been proposals to develop modern laws to regulate the current forms of gaming.
The attitude towards gambling has, however, thawed and is not so much about making it hard. Instead, authorities are looking to make sure that the government earns part of the revenue generated by gambling activities. Additionally, they want people to be more forthcoming when they have gambling problems so they can get help. In that light, there are chances that online gambling could soon be declared legal in New Zealand. Online companies may well be able to obtain licenses from the local authorities.
The result of such a change in regulation would be interesting to see. While in all ways it would improve the taxman’s balance (a reported $million is shipped off to offshore casinos), there is no telling how it would affect the gambling culture in the country. Will more people start gambling? Will there be more cases of problem gamblers seeking help? Will people lose their enthusiasm because the fruit is no longer forbidden? There are exciting times ahead!