Offshore Gambling Duty in New Zealand

Offshore Gambling Duty in NZ
Last Updated on | by Pavo Jurkic

New Zealand is finally making long-awaited changes to the vastly unregulated offshore gambling market. Starting from July 1st, 2024, the NZ government has initiated a 12% offshore gambling duty. It applies to all online gambling platforms operated by offshore companies that serve us in New Zealand.

This change doesn’t affect New Zealanders – only offshore gambling operators who accept New Zealanders as customers.

The Highlights of The Article

  • The 12% offshore gambling duty (OGD from now on) only affects offshore gambling operators. It doesn’t affect players in any way. The operators must make over $60,000 NZD in a calendar year from New Zealand and register with the GST.
  • The OGD introduction is scheduled for July 1st, 2024; 12% offshore gambling duty applies to the profits earned after the start date.
  • The main goal of the OGD is to generate additional revenue from the offshore gambling market and pave the way for even more (stricter) regulations in the future.
  • Additional requirements, such as the assessment, dispute processes, penalties, recovery, and interest are next on the regulator’s bucket list.

What is Offshore Gambling Duty?

As you might know already, local online casinos are strictly prohibited by the NZ government. However, the gambling laws don’t prohibit Kiwis from playing at offshore casino platforms. With the new OGD regulation, the government aims to start regulating the shady offshore gambling market and make some money while they’re at it.

When Does the OGD Come Into Effect?

As mentioned earlier, the offshore gambling duty comes into effect on July 1st, meaning offshore platforms have to register and start complying with the regulations by that exact date. The platforms must register with the GST and make over $60,000 NZD from NZ residents within a calendar year.

Potential Benefits of the OGD?

The obvious benefit of the offshore gambling duty law is the crackdown on shady gambling sites. Of course, the government will also make some money on the side. Quite a bit of it too, since 12% of gambling revenue from hundreds of casinos ought to stack up quite substantially.

  • Increased Government Revenue

    This one goes without a doubt – the government will earn quite a bit of money from the OGD. Of course, the sum depends on just how many offshore platforms start complying with the regulations and the size of the offshore gambling market in NZ. But, expectations are high and they’re likely to be surpassed in late October, once the first file returns start coming in.

  • Enhanced Regulation

    Based on our experience, the introduction of OGD might just be the first step of a comprehensive system for regulating the offshore gambling market in NZ. We’ve seen countless efforts in the past, but they had little to no effect. However, the NZ government seems to be aiming for a slow-paced approach which might yield positive results.

  • Level Playing Field

    The OGD ought to introduce a level playing field for all domestic gambling operators. The fee is identical for all offshore casinos across the board, which might pave the way for a fairer and more competitive experience for everyone involved.

  • Improved Transparency

    Another factor that will prove to be a benefit of the OGD is improved transparency. Once the offshore sites register with the GST and start paying their OGD fees, the government will be able to gauge just how big the offshore gambling market is. Of course, it won’t be covered as a whole, but will pave the way for far more accurate predictions.

Possible Drawbacks

Even though players aren’t directly targeted by the introduction of OGD, they might feel some drawbacks. Additionally, history shows us that such attempts to regulate a shady part of the market tend to increase the black market growth directly. Plus, it might not be as effective as the NZ government thinks. Let’s talk about that!

  • Increased Costs for Players

    Even though the OGD only targets offshore gambling operators and not the players, the players might still face increased costs because the casinos will want to keep their profits and the way they’ll do so is by lowering the RTP values of their slots and reducing the quality of their welcome bonuses.

  • Black Market Growth

    The UK is the perfect example. UKGC enforces strict rules and regulations for domestic bookies. That “forced” gamblers to flock to offshore sites which only boosted the black market’s share of the total gambling market in the UK.

  • Limited Effectiveness

    Unfortunately, the effectiveness of NZ’s efforts is going to be quite limited. Realistically speaking, nothing is preventing offshore gamblers from staying in the grey area. Yes, they won’t be able to legally accept NZ gamblers, but we’re talking about shady businesses here that have no interest in doing things 100% legally.

How Will the OGD be Enforced?

The OGD law is going to be enforced from July 1st. It requires operators to register with the IRD in order to comply with offshore gambling duty regulations. More precisely, they will have to calculate the difference between their revenue from New Zealand residents and the paid prizes to those residents. Operators have to file returns on a three-month basis. The first due date for the first three months (July, August, and September) is October 28th. That said, operators have to pay 12% offshore gambling duty on or before that date.

FAQ

  • Why has New Zealand introduced a 12% offshore gambling duty?

    In my opinion, the NZ government wants to put an end to shady offshore gambling sites. It wants to form a proper offshore gambling market, get its fair share of taxes, regulate the gambling platforms and provide better player protection.

  • Will the offshore gambling duty impact New Zealand players who gamble online?

    No, it won’t affect players in any way, shape or form. How come? Because the offshore gambling duty exclusively impacts online operators. In other words, the best online casinos that accept NZ players have to pay a 12% offshore gambling duty fee starting from July 1st 2024.

  • What types of gambling are subject to the offshore gambling duty?

    Based on the official regulations, the offshore gambling duty applies to all forms of gambling offered by offshore operators to NZ residents. This includes online slots, poker, jackpots, bingo, and so on. In terms of betting on sports and racing, though, the offshore gambling duty excludes the 10% that the operators have already paid for the “consumption charges“.