iGamingBusiness.com reported in 2018 that the New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs reported that bettors spent NZ$2.3bn on gaming and gambling during the 2016-17 fiscal year. This is a 5.7% increase over the previous year.
What’s interesting about this data is that the income for New Zealand’s TAB racing and sports betting decreased about 1.3%. So did the income for their six land-based casinos.
Want to know why?
Of course, we don’t know the exact reason why. We can give a guess as to what the reason could be, though, based on what we learned about their laws.
We’ll talk about this in the legal section of this page. There’s something a little more pressing to talk about right now – the best gambling sites for New Zealand.
Don’t worry; you don’t have to go out and find these sites on your own – we’ve already done the legwork for you. All you need to do is choose a site from the list below.
We can all agree that some gambling sites are better than others. It depends on factors such as what you want to play or how much you want to bet per round. Where you’re playing from (New Zealand) also plays a HUGE role.
The sites listed above make our list because they meet our high standards. Here’s what that means.
Each site is licensed through a gaming commission who imposes and enforces rules to keep players safe while gambling.
These sites have a large variety of gambling products. Within each product, you’ll find a robust selection of markets to bet on and games to play.
You’ll find a large selection of New Zealand-friendly banking options and reasonable limits and fees. Most if not all of these sites should allow you to play in NZD, too.
These sites have several offers that Kiwi punters, poker, and casino players can claim. The offers have reasonable terms, too.
Each site offers mobile betting and gaming, either through a mobile-responsive website or native app.
These sites offer stellar customer support.
These are the things we look for in each casino we review. Only the best of the best – the gambling sites that can check most and preferably all of these boxes – will make our list of recommended sites.
This is good news for you because that means you’re getting the cream of the crop.
In fact, let’s talk a little bit in detail about how we go about choosing our recommended gambling sites. That way, you can see the thought process that goes into each site on our list.
Before we get to that, though, here are some other recommendations that might interest you if you’re looking for something a little more specific.
Why should you take our recommendations at face value?
This might shock you, but you shouldn’t. At least, not until you know how we come up with our recommendations.
Here are the things we look for, in no particular order, when choosing a site to recommend to our readers.
Not being able to claim a bonus or participate in a VIP program isn’t the end of the world. The most important thing you can do is join a reputable site.
But if you can find a legit site with a bonus, why not do that?
The first thing we check for is whether players from NZ can claim a site’s offers. Some casinos have restrictions or additional terms on who can or cannot claim their promotions. We want to make sure players from this region aren’t on that list.
Then we look for a large range of offers. Some sites have all their offers on the casino or sportsbook side of things, leaving players that use their other products empty-handed.
That’s no good. We want offers for every kind of player.
The next thing we look at is how good the deals are. You can get a 100% bonus up to $100 or $300 just about anywhere. Free $10 bets are also in abundance.
What about a 100% bonus up to $2,500 or even $5,000?
What about a 400% match bonus up to $4,000?
What about a $50 free bet, 100+ free spins, or even 250 free bingo tickets?
These are all examples of offers that exist or have existed in the past. They’re also examples of what a generous offer looks like.
Last, we look at the gambling site’s terms. The playthrough needs to be reasonable – no one wants to wager $100,000 to clear a $500 bonus. No one wants to jump through a million hoops to cash their winnings out, either.
Banking is another important factor. Here are the things we look for.
We prefer sites that have more Kiwi-friendly options than not. That way, our readers can use the methods they prefer, rather than settle for something they don’t. Visa and Mastercard are standard options. We prefer sites that also accept Skrill, POLi, Entropay, FastBank Transfer, and Paysafecard.
If you’re a low-stakes player, then you can play just about anywhere and be fine. However, we need to make sure that the sites we recommend can cater to the largest audience possible. This is why we look for sites that offer limits in the 4-6-figure range, depending on whether that’s their daily, weekly, or monthly limits.
The amount you pay in fees is important to pay attention to because that’s either less money you’ll have to play with, less winnings you can cash out, or more money to tack onto your losses. Not one of those options sounds appealing to us.
Unfortunately, fees are hard to avoid in the gambling industry. So the goal instead is to find the cheapest fees you can. We prefer to find flat-rate fees as opposed to percentages, as the amount you’ll pay is capped, and you’ll know exactly what it is each time you request a cash-out.
We want our New Zealand readers to be able to play in NZD (if that’s what you want). Because if you can’t, you may have to deal with exchange rates and currency exchange fees.
These things shouldn’t be terribly difficult to find since there are dozens if not hundreds of gambling sites out there. It’s still something we check for, though, so that our readers aren’t surprised later on.
This is a biggie because we’re trying to recommend “all-in-one” gambling sites. Unfortunately, many sites nowadays focus on one or two products instead of offering them all. For example, there are several sportsbook/casino combos out there.
But what if you want to play poker and/or bingo too?
This is why we look for and prefer to recommend gambling sites that offer all the most popular gambling products. This includes casino games, sports betting, online poker, and bingo. We also check each of these products out during our review to make sure they’re up to snuff.
Here are some of the things we look for.
We prefer sportsbooks that offer a large quantity of sports and markets for you to bet on. We also look for options such as live betting, as well as features like early payouts.
We want to recommend casinos that can cover all the bases – they can offer slots, table games, video poker, and a live casino. It’s also important that they have a variety of games and variants in each section.
We look for poker rooms that offer both cash games and tournaments with a robust selection of games, stakes, and variants.
We prefer that the bingo sites we recommend have several bingo game variants. Features such as changing your daub symbol or color are a bonus. It’s also great when we can find bingo products that offer large prizes and progressive jackpots.
Sites that fit these criteria get a thumbs-up from us. If they offer anything beyond this, such as financial betting or scratch tickets, we consider it a bonus.
There are two things we look for here.
Whether the casino has their license
What their reputation is like within the gambling community
Not all licenses are created equal, because the gambling commissions that issue them aren’t created equal.
For example, the gambling site that has a license through the UKGC is far better than the site that has a license through Curacao, all other things being equal.
The reason why it’s better is because the UKGC is far stricter a jurisdiction than Curacao. The end result is a safer and more secure experience for you. It means fairer games. It also means you have recourse if something were to go wrong.
That said, having a license is better than not having one because getting a license is a barrier to entry. This usually includes an application and approval process, as well as fees. There are also requirements operators need to meet in order for their site to be compliant.
At the very least, a license weeds out the worst of the worst.
There are lots of businesses in the world that operate legally but are horrible in terms of the product they put out there, their customer support, and so on.
Gambling sites aren’t any different. Some are better than others. This is why we don’t rely on the casino’s license alone. We also look at their reputation from within the gambling community.
The best place to look into a gambling site’s rep is online forums. You can get a birds-eye view of how a casino treats their customers, how fast they pay them, if they’ve ever ripped anyone off, and more.
That said, one post from an upset and often wrong player isn’t something to judge a gambling site by. You want to look for the sites that have entire threads or sections dedicated to them and how they’ve wronged customers. You want to look for consistent patterns of wrongdoing.
These are the sites we avoid recommending to our readers. We recommend you avoid them, too.
Is It Legal to Gamble in New Zealand?
We have some good and bad news for you.
It is legal to gamble in New Zealand. It wasn’t always. Gambling was declared illegal in 1920.
That said, the legality of (online) gambling depends on what you want to play and how you want to play it. We’ll show you what we mean in a second, but first, let’s look at how the laws have changed over the past few decades.
The Racing Act (1971)
This was passed to clarify the legality of sports betting in the country. The Totalisator Agency Board (TAB) was established, which ended up having a monopoly over the country’s fixed-odds betting on greyhounds and harness racing.
Gaming and Lotteries Act (1977)
This law permits non-commercial organizations to run games of chance to raise money for charity or community purposes. It also explains how to get a license to offer charitable games and the rules you needed to follow.
Casino Control Act (1990)
This made it so that private casinos that operate for private financial gain can operate legally in the country. It stresses that the primary benefit to allowing this is to boost revenue to the country through tourism, as well as increase employment.
Gambling Act (2003)
This is one of the most current pieces of gaming legislation in New Zealand and is the basis for how things work today. The Gambling Act repealed and consolidated the Gaming and Lotteries Act 1977 and the Casino Control Act 1990 into one act.
Racing Act (2003)
This repealed the 1971 Racing Act to make easier rules for the racing gambling industry. It also created the New Zealand Racing Board to take the reigns from the current industry monopoly, TAB. The Racing Board is the only native (and legal) sportsbook in New Zealand.
Got all that? All right, so this is where we get into the “depends on what you want to play and how you want to play it” part of the lesson.
The Gambling Act 2003 also says that “remote interactive gambling” is prohibited. This is defined as “gambling by a person at a distance by interaction through a communication device.”
However, the act goes on to also say that
“it is not illegal for someone in New Zealand to participate in gambling over the Internet if that website is based overseas.”
What does that mean for you?
It means that you can gamble online at an offshore gaming operator – one that’s not located in New Zealand.
That’s not to say that outsiders haven’t tried to enter the New Zealand market. For example, Betfair tried to legally enter the market in the early 2000s, but they failed.
That’s all right, though, as there are no consequences to gambling at an offshore operator. Not to mention that many Kiwis prefer offshore sites to TAB or the NZRB, as offshore providers offer a broader range of products and better pricing.
However, even though it’s legal to play at an offshore site, there is an advertising ban. These operators can’t advertise their services to you. What’s more is that, even if it’s okay for you to play at an offshore gambling site, it’s unlikely you can expect much help from your government if things go sour.
That’s one of the reasons why it’s so important to choose a safe and trustworthy gambling site.
Gambling is on the rise in New Zealand. It’s obvious that people want to bet on sports and play casino games and a hand or two of poker.
The funny thing is that the data doesn’t reflect how much revenue is spent outside of the options available to New Zealanders from within their country. In other words, gambling is probably even bigger than what we realize.
We have no doubt this trend will only continue to go up. It’d be great to see some operators call New Zealand home in the near future.
Until then, you have plenty of offshore gambling sites to choose from. We recommend you choose from our top picks in the top-list table above.
New Zealand Gambling FAQ
Here are some answers to commonly-asked questions about gambling online in New Zealand.
What’s the legal gambling age?
The legal gambling age is 18+.
Do New Zealanders have to pay taxes on their winnings?
Your winnings aren’t currently taxed. That’s because gambling is considered recreational.
This changes if you’re a professional gambler – you’ll have to pay taxes on your winnings, or “profits.”
There’s also a grey area for poker players. If you have an income outside of poker and play recreationally, then your winnings aren’t taxed. However, if you don’t have any outside income and play poker “recreationally,” then you will be taxed.
What are the most popular sports to bet on?
The most popular sports to bet on include Australian football (A-league), tennis, rugby, cricket, and horse and greyhound racing.
What local casinos can you play at?
There are 6 casinos you can visit in New Zealand, which include:
SkyCity Wharf Casino
How do I know online gambling sites offer fair games?
Most gambling sites have their games’ algorithms tested to ensure they’re random. Some sites do their testing in-house, while others use services such as Technical Systems Testing (TST).
As unbelievable as this may sound, most gambling sites run fair games. If they’re going to scam you, it’s usually by blatantly stealing your money or manipulating their terms and conditions in such a way that they don’t have to pay you (as much).
If I want to bet sports and play in the casino, do I need an account for each one?
No. Once you create your account, you should be able to use it for any of the products the gambling site offers.