NZ Gambling Act 2003

NZ Gambling Act 2003
Last Updated on | by Amanda Wilson

Understanding the application and importance of the 2003 NZ Gambling Act is important for all gamblers. It's the due diligence that ensures any site you play on adheres to laws with the New Zealand Gambling Act 2003. brings you the essential points that are relevant to casino players.

In February 2002, the government of New Zealand introduced the Gambling Bill which was given Royal assent on 18th September 2003. The Bill was introduced to parliament on 19th February as the Responsible Gambling Bill. It was referred to New Zealand’s Government Administration Select Committee, and public submissions were closed on 2nd April 2002. On 12th August 2003 it was renamed the Gambling Bill.

Purpose of the Gambling Act 2003

New Zealand Gambling act went into effect and has been a law since September 18th, 2003. There is a list of purposes for its existence. Starting with controlling the growth of gambling, facilitating responsibility in gambling, and preventing the harm caused by gambling. It also ensures integrity and fairness, limits crime, dishonesty and authorizes certain types of gambling. Gambling is handled so that it can benefit the community and increase community involvement in gambling laws provisions. The Gambling Act 2003 also dictates who, when and where gambling is allowed.

  • Legal Regulation of the Gambling Industry
  • Preventing and Minimizing Gambling Harm
  • Promoting Responsible Gambling
  • Ensuring Fairness of Gambling Games

Classes of Gambling in New Zealand

There are four classes found within the Gambling Act 2003. Gambling is classified by a few aspects, such as problem gambling risks and monetary values. The classes begin from class 1, which represents gambling with much lesser risks, all the way to class 4 gambling, which means games with the highest risk and turnovers. The New Zealand Lotteries commission run casinos and lotteries do not operate under the same gambling classes as found in the 2003 act. They are treated as separate classes within the Gambling Act.

Class 1 Gambling

A license is not required for class 1 gambling because games under this class must comply with relevant rules at all times. All prizes and potential turnover should not exceed $500 per session. If individuals run the game, all profits must proceed to prizes. And if any society runs the game, all earnings need to be applied to authorized gambling purposes.

Class 2 Gambling

A license is also not required for games under class 2. For example, the total prize for each session can not exceed $5000, and no potential turnovers may exceed $25000. Societies can only run such gambling activity, and operators must apply earnings for authorized purposes. Consumers have to be eligible to gamble.

Class 3 Gambling

A license is required for all class 3 gambling activities as the prize value can be $5000 per session. The primary purpose of the games defined underclass 3 is to raise funds for an authorized purpose only. Moreover, it does not involve any gaming machines for gambling activity.

Class 4 Gambling

All gambling activity classified as class 4 under the New Zealand Gambling Act 2003 may only be run by corporate societies. All earnings are to be used for approved purposes. All Class 4 gambling activities involve gambling gaming machines outside casinos or any authorized establishments.

Prohibited Types of Gambling

All gambling is illegal in New Zealand unless approved by the New Zealand Gambling Act 2003. However, a few types of gambling activities and games are undeniably prohibited by this Act. The Gambling Act 2003 defines four classes of gambling, three of which have expressed a maximum monetary value for prizes and turnovers. They also identify which licenses are required or not and who can conduct the activity. Any gambling activity that does not meet anyone’s requirements of the classes is deemed illegal.


Bookmaking is the act of accepting and paying off bets on sporting events on agreed odds. It is most common in horse racing but may be integrated into other gambling activities. Bookmaking is strictly prohibited in New Zealand unless authorized by the Racing Industry Act 2020 and complies with all the requirements.

Communication Devices

Remote Interactive Gambling involves gambling by any individual at a distance and interacting through a communication device. Communication devices include smartphones, computers, radios, etc. However, there are some exemptions, such as gambling at casino sites licensed by foreign regulators. Class 3 operators are also excluded, but only until October 2024.

Overseas Gambling Advertisements

Overseas Gambling Advertisements are banned under section 16 of the act. It includes any publication, promotion, or gambling operators located outside New Zealand. Defying this rule is an offence and can result in a fine of up to $10,000. However, some exemptions include incidental ads, such as tourist ads mentioning casinos in their cities.


  • Is Gambling Act 2003 fair enough?

    Yes, the New Zealand Gambling Act 2003 is considered fair. Additionally, the New Zealand government plans to review it further and do so over the years. As a result, most provisions were decided upon in 2004. The Act intends to maintain fairness, honesty and transparency in gambling in a way that benefits the community.

  • How does Gambling Act affect the prevention and minimization of harm from gambling?

    The New Zealand Gambling Act 2003 has caused positive effects and minimized the dangers and risks of gambling. It manages to prevent criminal activity tied to gambling by limiting prizes, requiring and providing licensing and identifying lawful gambling from problem gambling.For example, it sets age limits on certain types of gambling.

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