Gambling is one of the major pastimes in New Zealand. Besides loving rugby, many youngsters in NZ love playing slots and casino games online and on their mobile phones. It’s a rising industry that greatly contributes to the country's economy. Due to the rise of online gambling, the country has allowed casinos to exist on the market legally, making it a much-desired spot for Kiwis.
Like many other countries, gambling is fully legal in the country. There are both land-based and online casinos on the market, with the latter being the most popular. Below we'll show you a few important metrics and statistics for an in-depth look at the New Zealand gambling industry.
Figures and Stats
Latest research has shown that over 80% of Kiwis admit they've gambled at least once in their lives. From an entertainment perspective, casinos are among the most popular establishments. It’s a different kind of entertainment to say, nightclubs, but a popular one nonetheless. Even though there are many opponents to the idea of a liberalized market, there's no question that New Zealand reaps the rewards of online gambling.
As we started reviewing the world of online gambling, we checked different aspects of the gaming world, including the demographics, how much money is poured into it, and what the local laws are. Let's start with the basics – the legal landscape that allows operators to offer their services legally. In 2022, Kiwis have spent $387 million on online gambling. That’s a figure close to $400 million and a large one for sure. However, it was a bit down from the previous year. In 2021, Kiwis invested $559 million, primarily because of the COVID-19 restrictions that prevented many from going outside for big stretches.
In 2023, the projections are on course to shatter new records. Experts believe 2023 will be a major year for gambling in New Zealand, as the projections for money spent on casino games is set at $1.2 billion.
Laws and Regulations
As mentioned earlier, gambling is legal in New Zealand. Both land-based venues and online establishments must possess a license in order to legally exist on the market. The main governing body is the Department of Internal Affairs. It ensures that all casinos are licensed and that they operate as per the instructions and requirements of the Gambling Act of 2003.
This document is of major importance for the gambling industry. It lays the ground for legal establishments and aims to minimize the risk of harmful gambling. The law also aims to get rid of illegal casino sites and sportsbooks, keeping players safe.
When it comes to the licensing, the NZ Gambling Commission is the responsible governing body. It issues the all-important license, specifies how gambling venues obtain it, determines any appeals, and advises everyone on any challenges and obstacles. However, compared to the MGA or the UKGC, this gambling commission covers only offshore gambling platforms.
While the current state of online casinos is legal, the NZ government plans to introduce much stricter regulations. The Ministry of Health is concerned for the future problem gambling predictions. At the moment, the problem gambling rate is 0.4%. However, that number should go up to nearly 1.5% in the future, and that’s why the Ministry of Health has projected some changes.
The National Party is also planning a new taxation reform that will mostly apply to offshore operators. At the moment, all online offshore casinos can freely offer their services to New Zealand players. However, everyone’s expecting that to change in the future, with tax rates up to 15% proposed for casinos registered outside NZ.
This, of course, has been done with a simple plan in mind – bolster the country’s economy. In the long run, NZ will benefit the most from this approach. It might scare some operators off, but considering how much money Kiwis spent each year on online casino games and slots, we think most operators will agree.
Moreover, the number of casino sites on the market will decrease and be cleaned up. Players might have a smaller number of casinos to pick from, but they should be proper establishments ready to pay the proposed tax.
What Kind of Games do New Zealand Players Love the Most?
Pokies are the main game of choice for New Zealand players. Which isn’t surprising at all, as they come in many shapes and sizes. Players can choose from vintage slot machines in a virtual setting, modern slots with hundreds or thousands of ways to win, progressive jackpot, and more. In terms of themes, you can play it all, from rugby-inspired to branded slots based on TV shows. Rugby is the country’s most popular sport, so it’s no wonder that sports-inspired slots are such big hits.
Aside from slots, classic casino games such as roulette are seeing lots of action too. Kiwis are known as players that aren’t averse to risk. That’s why chance-based games are getting a lot of attention, and roulette is high atop that list. Its online variants come in different shapes and sizes, ranging from classic European wheels to multi-wheel setups and live roulette games. The latter are a perfect evolution of the game, offering exciting gameplay via live streams with unique features such as multipliers.
Blackjack and card games such as poker are always popular. Online poker’s variants appeal to different kinds of players in New Zealand, so it’s quite the hit out there.
The future of the online gambling industry in New Zealand is bright. Despite the fact that the government is planning on a tax reform for this particular industry, it’ll still stand up high among the economical contributors. Projections are quite good for this year and beyond, so there’s no question that the NZ online gambling industry will experience an uptick soon.
Both casinos and developers are excited for the times ahead. With more and more players enjoying the innovation and entertainment, it won’t stop anytime soon.