The history of gambling in New Zealand

In many countries people can and do gamble, both in real casinos and in the online casinos that are springing up like mushrooms.

This is also true in a country like New Zealand where gambling is a regular occurrence. What do we actually know about it?

Introduction of the Gambling Act and the Golden Kiwi Lottery

The way gambling is still done today was introduced in New Zealand with the arrival of the first Europeans. Gambling was allowed there for a long time until the Gambling Act was introduced in 1908, making gambling possible only at the country’s racetracks.

Despite the strict law, gambling (then illegal) remained popular. The law was not relaxed until 1961 when the Golden Kiwi Lottery saw the light of day. After that, gambling was made easier and the rules became less strict.

Only five legal casinos to gamble in New Zealand

It is worth noting that there are not many legal casinos in the country, only five. The first one was opened in 1994 in Christchurch, offering tourists the opportunity to try their luck and have a fun night out in a casino. After that, casinos were built in four other places.

Playing at Pokies

Also in New Zealand you can play on slot machines when you are in the casino. These machines are known there, just as in Australia, under the name of Pokies. Had enough playing for a while? Then you can always enjoy a snack and a drink in one of the bars or restaurants of the casinos. The slot machines are not only found in the casino, by the way: there are also many other places in the country (more than 15,000 in total) and they are managed by charitable organizations. You can take a gamble and the proceeds will go to a good cause.

Participate in lotteries

In New Zealand you can also take part in lotteries if you want to try your luck. The first lotteries were organized at the end of the 19th century and aimed at raising money for various institutions and charities. The first national lottery was introduced in the country in 1933 but since there was not much to win, many New Zealanders chose to gamble in neighboring Australia because there seemed to be more money to be earned.

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Golden Kiwi Lottery from 1961

This gambling in other countries was usually illegal and in order to counter this the government of New Zealand decided to set up its own big lottery. The result was the Golden Kiwi Lottery which was held for the first time in 1961. The lottery originally started with only Lotto but this was then expanded to include other games such as Keno and Powerball.

Gambling on horse races

Also in New Zealand you can take a gamble and bet your money on horse racing. This is probably the oldest and most legal form of gambling in the country. Its beginnings date back to the early 20th century and the races still take place today. In the beginning, although gambling was still prohibited and you could only do it at the race track itself, later when it became legal it could be done in many places, including from other race tracks or other locations.

Laws that oversee gambling in New Zealand

All gambling in the country is overseen by the Department of Internal Affairs. This also immediately means that a certain percentage of the money wagered for gambling must go back into the community. The most recent laws governing gambling date back to 2003. This is when both the Gambling Act and the Racing Act were introduced. The latter covers all bets made on sports and horse racing while the former applies to the rest of all ways to gamble.

Online casinos are banned in the country

Online casinos are gaining popularity all over the world so it is no different in New Zealand. Although there are no legal online casinos in the country (they are prohibited there), if you are of age you are allowed to gamble at an online casino elsewhere. This way you can gamble whenever and wherever you want, without having to go out and visit a real casino. Since gambling is very popular in the country (especially now that the opportunity exists to do so online) the laws that prohibit it work poorly in the country and many players know how to circumvent them. There may be some things forbidden but this does not stop the residents from having a bet now and then. There is little chance that it will ever completely disappear from the country.