Gambling Age and Laws in New Zealand
There are many forms of gambling, be it buying a lotto ticket or scratchcard, sports betting or visiting a casino to play table games such as roulette and blackjack. These days we also have the opportunity to gamble online with a host of options open to us. If you wish to understand the legalities of gambling in New Zealand we’ve put together this guide. It will enable you to understand the laws and restrictions enforced and the legal age limit required to partake in gambling in NZ.
|Gambling Type||Legal Gambling Age|
|Lotto||No age limit|
|Instant Kiwi Lottery||18|
Gambling Age NZ
You are legally classed as an adult at 20 years old in New Zealand, this is when you can serve on a jury or earn adult minimum wage rates. However, at 18 you can drink in pubs, vote, purchase tobacco and rent a property in your name. At 16 you can leave school, get married (if given consent) and have consensual sex!
But let’s answer the question which has drawn many of you to this guide and that is; what is the minimum age that you can gamble in New Zealand? Actually, it depends on what form of gambling you are indulging in.
To play in lotteries such as Lotto, Play 3, Keno and Bullseye there isn’t a minimum age limit. If you win a prize of more than $1000 and you are under 18 years old to claim your winnings an acknowledgement form must be completed by a parent or legal guardian.
Scratch Cards, Instant Play and Instant Kiwi Lottery
If you want to buy a scratch card and you are under 18 years old, you are out of luck as it is considered a crime under the NZ Gambling act 2003. It is also illegal for anyone to sell instant games or frequently drawn lottery tickets to someone under 18 or to buy them on their behalf. Fines of up to $1000 can be expected.
The sole sports betting and racing agency in new Zealand is the TAB (Totalisator Agency Board} if you want to wager on sports or horse racing then you’ll need to be 18 years or over. If you are under the legal age and make a bet you can be fined up to $500 and if someone places a wager for you then they can receive a fine of up to $1000.
The legal age to play gaming machines such as pokies at pubs, bars, clubs and restaurants is 18. This ties in with the legal drinking age which is also 18 or over. If you play on a pokie and win and you are suspected of being under 18 they are entitled to not hand over your winnings. However, if you are of legal age and can prove it within a seven day period you claim your winnings back. A record should be kept with your name, address, the amount and date of the win by the establishment contesting your age.
If you wish to hit the tables at one of New Zealand’s’ half a dozen land-based casinos then you are required to be over 20 years old to access the gaming area to gamble or to drink. NZ casinos have stringent legal policies in place and are highly regulated. If you are over 18 you are still able to purchase area in non-gaming areas of the casinos.
Accepted ID at NZ casinos include:
- A valid New Zealand or overseas passport
- A valid New Zealand or Overseas photo drivers licence
- Any other current government institution ID that includes a photo and date of birth
Another option is to use a Kiwi Access Card as an alternative to a passport or drivers licence, it’s available for New Zealand Nationals and those from overseas but must be obtained in-country. Essentially it is an ID card to prove that you are 18+, it costs $55 and is valid for 10 years.
If using fake ID has crossed your mind thing again, if caught you can be prosecuted and fined up to $500.
The penalty for being underage and found in a gaming area in a SkyCity casino (the biggest casino brand in NZ) is that they will take out a trespass order against you and you will be banned from SkyCity for two years. In addition, you could face prosecution and a $500 fine.
A similar penalty is enforced if you are under 18 and buy alcohol at the casino, either with an infringement fee of $200 or a fine up to $2000. A trespass order will also be taken out against you excluding you from the casino for two years.
Age Requirements for Online Casino Gambling for NZ Players
With the limited options for gambling in New Zealand, a popular alternative is online gambling. If you wish to participate in online gambling at either or sport betting sites or NZ online casinos you need to be 18 or over. There are many misconceptions regarding the legalities of gambling online for New Zealand players but to cut a long story short it is perfectly legal for Kiwis to use offshore gambling sites.
That being said let’s discuss the matter a little further so we can give you greater peace of mind. In accordance with the Gambling Act 2003 unless authorized by the government all forms of gambling are prohibited domestically. Prohibited online gambling sites in New Zealand include the lottery and betting services offered by TAB. Remote interactive or online casinos and bookmakers that are based overseas aren’t regulated by the NZ authorities so online gamblers of 18 and over can legally play at them. In addition, as you are gambling overseas you get to keep 100% of you winning as they aren’t taxed.
Though online casinos and sports betting sites provide you with unlimited wagering options, from playing table games such as roulette and blackjack to your favourite pokies or all sorts of sports betting combinations on Premiership football matches, you should still understand that there are rogue sites online that are unregulated and will steal your money in a heartbeat. So let’s briefly discuss how online gambling is regulated.
Regulations for Online Gambling
Casino regulation online is not controlled by one single global authority. Though most sites are subject to the regulations of the countries where they are based and have to abide by strict laws some countries are less stringent and any site can operate without recourse. The majority of sites are regulated in reputable jurisdictions and certified by independent testing agencies such as eCOGRA so you are in safe hands if you sign-up to one of these sites, so a little homework is required first.
In certain regions governments have passed laws so that a company based there can legally provide online gaming and betting services. The company needs to meet and maintain a number of requirements before they will be issued a license. Some of the requirements include; game fairness, prevention of underage gambling, transparent accounting procedures and fair handling of complaints to name just a few. So the most respected jurisdictions include the UK Gambling Commission, Kahnawake Gaming Commission, Malta Gaming Authority, Curacao Gambling Control Board and the Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission.
As well as a reputable, bonafide jurisdiction you should check to ensure that they are certified by a respected internationally approved testing agency like eCOGRA. This will ensure that the casino is audited regularly to ensure that the site offers fair and safe gaming for its players.
To determine where the online casino or bookmaker is licenced and if they are certified you’ll usually find the seals and links in the footer at the bottom of the site or in another prominent place. If the information isn’t obvious to find then it is best to avoid that particular site, there are plenty more to choose from.
Hopefully, you are now clued up on at what age you can legally enjoy the different gambling activities available to you in New Zealand.