Gambling is one of the most popular leisure activities in all of New Zealand. Millions of residents participate in various forms of gambling every year, and the government has enacted strict laws to ensure that players can gamble in safe environments. In New Zealand, special rules govern the operation of casinos.
All forms of gambling under the Gambling Act 2003 are divided into four categories. Casino gambling and electronic gaming equipment fall under category 4: high-risk games of chance. The Gambling Act sets very strict guidelines for the performance of Category 4 activities in gambling clubs and other venues. However, there are separate rules for casino gambling.
A look at the regulatory landscape of online casinos
The Gambling Act 2003 allows casinos to be open all day. However, they must be closed on Christmas Day, Good Friday, and Anzac Day. Most casinos in the country are not open 24 hours a day; the only exception is Sky City Auckland.
The Gambling Act also states that operators are not allowed to build new casinos in New Zealand. While licences are renewable, operators cannot build new properties until the law is updated. As we have seen in locations like Auckland, casino operators are allowed to renovate their properties. While they can expand their hotels, build new restaurants and change the casino layout, operators cannot add new table games or electronic slot machines.
New Zealand Gaming Supplier Regulatory
Casino operators in New Zealand must also take responsibility for promoting safe gambling among customers. As such, operators must ensure that visitors have a wide range of literature available, such as pamphlets explaining the odds of winning on certain games and information on how to spot the signs of problem gambling. In addition, all employees who come into direct contact with players must be able to identify problem gambling behaviour. Casinos are required to provide training on gambling awareness.
Only mainland gambling operators are required to adhere to the laws set out in the New Zealand Gambling Act. Currently, online casinos and other gambling websites are not regulated by the New Zealand government. Going forward, offshore gambling websites may be regulated as the government recently launched a call for filings regarding the Interactive Gambling Act. The municipality wants to determine the impact of smartphones on the online gambling market and gain perspective on the market in general. So far, several submissions have encouraged the regulation of online gambling in New Zealand. As such, the possibility increases that the New Zealand government could regulate online gambling.