New Zealand’s Department of Internal Affairs is in charge of gambling regulations. State-owned institutions and organizations own the biggest proportion of the gambling industry. It is considered that communities in the country are the primary stakeholder group. Portion of profits from public gambling is required to be turned over to communities in New Zealand. Community interests include groups for whom gambling activities raises funds, gamblers, and organizations which provide services and research of the social effects of gambling.

Gambling Act of New Zealand

The Gambling Act of 2003 is the primary piece of legislation that governs and regulates gambling in New Zealand. It focuses on ensuring that communities benefit from the profits acquired by the gambling industry and the negative effects of gambling are minimised. So while gambling is considered one of the greatest attractions in the country, the government is meticulously regulating the gambling industry. The first major casino opened in 1994, and as the industry experienced rapid growth, the Gambling Act of 2003 was established.

The objectives of the Gambling Act of 2003 are:

  • Ensure that money from gambling benefits the community
  • Facilitate community involvement in decisions about the provision of gambling
  • Moderate the growth of gambling
  • Minimise the negative effects caused by gambling including problem gambling
  • Authorise some gambling and prohibit the rest
  • Facilitate responsible gambling
  • Ensure the fairness and integrity of games
  • Limit opportunities for crime and dishonesty associated with gambling

Current Laws and Amendments for New Zealand’ s Gambling Industry

Gambling Amendment Act (No 2) 2015

Gambling Amendment Act 2015

Gambling Amendment Act 2005

Gambling Act 2003 – the Gambling Act 2003 repeals the Casino Control Act 1990 and the Gaming and Lotteries Act 1977 and integrates them into a single Act. Racing continues to be administered under the Racing Act 2003 (with some exceptions, such as gaming machine operations in TABs and racing clubs)

Racing Act 2003

Boxing and Wrestling Act 1981

Current Regulations


Regulatory Agency Roles

The Department of Internal Affairs

  • Administers gambling legislation
  • Licenses gambling activities (except for casino gambling)
  • Ensures compliance with the legislation
  • Provides public information and education

The Ministry of Health

  • Funds and coordinates problem gambling services
  • Recently finalised its Preventing and Minimising Gambling Harm, three-year Service Plan 2011-2013, and its six-year Strategic Plan 2011-2016.

The Gambling Commission

  • Considers and determine applications for casino operators’ licenses and the renewal of casino venue licenses
  • Approves agreements and changes to agreements between casino operators and casino venue license holders
  • Considers and deals with complaints about the way the Department of Internal Affairs has handled complaints in relation to Class 4 gambling
  • Specifies, varies and revokes casino license conditions
  • Advises Ministers and facilitates consultation on the setting of the problem gambling levy
  • Considers and determines appeals against regulatory and licensing decisions made by the Department of Internal Affairs