New Zealand is known worldwide for its stunning views, picture-perfect beaches, and national rugby team. However, another thing about the country that may surprise people is the thriving gambling industry.
While the country only has six physical casinos, the gambling industry in 2021 totalled a worth of NZ $2.63 billion. This included lottery sales, casino games, and sports betting. What is staggering about this, however, is that this amount represents a 17% increase year on year for the industry.
Despite the growing industry within the country, one area of this industry is growing even faster. That is the use of online casinos by local players. These sites offer the easiest and most convenient way to play online pokies (slots) or enjoy a quick table game.
This guide will look at how to make the most of online casinos if you’re living in the land of the Kiwis. This includes all the regulations regarding online casinos and how you will be charged for tax if you are a lucky winner online.
Regulation and Laws
A singular piece of legislation governs all gambling activities in New Zealand. This legislation is the Gambling Act of 2003, which is enforced and managed by the New Zealand Gambling Commission.
Not only does this law regulate how gambling in the country should operate, but it also stipulates how many casinos are allowed to operate in the country, the rules around betting, and even how the national lottery should be run.
While it is fantastic that the country has a singular law that ensures gambling is fair and safe, it is also a hindrance to the industry’s growth. This is because this legislation is what limits the launch of new brick-and-mortar casinos and prohibits online gambling within the country.
Further than this, the law even sets out the rules for things like advertising when it comes to casinos and online casinos. Because they are technically illegal within the country, no online casino is allowed to advertise its services to potential players. Doing so could result in a fine of up to NZ $10,000.
Legally Accessing Online Casinos
Considering that the Gambling Act prohibits using online casinos, many people question how it is even possible to play on an online casino site in the country. Luckily, this is still possible because of the wording in the law itself.
The Gambling Act specifies that online gambling using an online casino within the country’s boundaries is illegal. However, there is no mention of whether it is unlawful should the casino not be based within the country’s limits.
This means that it is entirely legal (according to the law) if you are gambling using an online casino not based in New Zealand. Thankfully, plenty of online casinos in places like the UK, Malta, and Curaçao offer perfectly legitimate and legal ways for New Zealand players to scratch their gambling itch.
Because of this loophole, many players in the country log on each day to enjoy the pastime of pokies, tables, and other great features. And due to the number of NZ players logging on, more and more casinos are beginning to cater specifically to these players.
These casinos have started offering popular payment methods and allow players to deposit and play using local currency (NZ Dollar). This makes it easier for players to keep track of their wins and losses and saves them money on costly conversion fees when making deposits into their player accounts.
Finding an Online Casino
Knowing that it is possible to access an online casino and finding one you are comfortable using may be two entirely different things. Unfortunately, this is because many pokie sites look wholly legitimate yet will leave you wondering what happened to your hard-earned money.
This is why it is crucial to properly research what sites are worth joining before you ever sign up with one. Research can be done by looking at online reviews of a particular site, visiting casino review websites that will give you an honest report of the site (and usually a great bonus), and checking that the site is appropriately licensed to operate.
Doing these things will ensure that you enjoy a good and legal gambling experience and that, should you win big, you’ll actually be able to claim your money.
Claiming Your Winning and Taxes
If you are lucky enough to win extensively playing online, getting your money shouldn’t be an issue. You’ll need to withdraw your winnings from the casino using your chosen payment method. Depending on the site, your winnings should quickly be paid into your local account.
Thankfully, should this happen, you won’t have to worry about any additional taxes you will be required to pay. In New Zealand, gambling is not seen as a form of income. That is unless you are a professional gambler that uses betting as a primary source of income.
Because winnings aren’t seen as a form of income, you won’t have to pay any taxes on your winnings. This includes winnings that are won at local brick-and-mortar casinos and online casinos, even if these casinos aren’t in the country and your money needs to be transferred in after your win.
Many players from New Zealand are sometimes nervous about gambling on an online casino website. These nerves are entirely understandable since, technically, online casinos are illegal in the country.
Thankfully, there is a specific loophole in the law that allows Kiwi players to enjoy the convenience and entertainment of gambling online. And with the increasing support of NZ currency and payment methods, players should be happy to play on any of the variety of casinos available online.