Gambling in Australia and New Zealand in 2019

Written by:
Payton
Published on:
Apr/15/2019

Australasia neighbours Australia and New Zealand share a common love when it comes to gambling. Australia in fact boasts the highest gambling rates in the world with more than 80% of the populace engaging in some form of gambling. Yet in terms of legality, the two nations differ slightly:

Australia gambling laws

  • Live gambling is legal in every state and territory.

  • Most gambling regulation is made at state or territorial level rather then by parliament, and each area handles their own regulation.

With specific regard to online gambling, under the Interactive Gambling Act of 2001 (IGA) it is illegal to:

  • Offer prohibited interactive gambling products to anyone in Australia.

  • Offer unlicensed iGaming products to Australian customers.

  • Offer Australian-based iGaming products to other countries.

Basically, what this means is that Aussie players are not allowed to partake in most online gambling activities ranging from pokies to roulette, blackjack and poker. They are allowed to bet on auto racing and sports betting, so long as it is not done in-game. Online lotteries are also illegal except for instant-win cards, or “scratchies”.

In the years following the passage of the IGA, online operators found loopholes and ambiguities to exploit in order to allow in-game betting and offering products such as online poker. This resulted in the drafting of the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill 2016 that successfully closed those loopholes and penalised sites such as PokerStars, who has since pulled out of Australia in 2017.

So, to sum up, the only completely legal form of online gambling in Australia is betting on auto racing, sports betting (not done in-game) and online lottery. The good news is that online gambling laws are only targeted at companies and not those playing at gambling sites. Therefore, it is not illegal for you to gamble at an online casino if you are an Australian resident.

New Zealand gambling laws

In terms of its Gambling Act of 2003, New Zealand’s legal stance is that it neither explicitly prohibits nor deems it illegal for Kiwis to play at online casinos, indulge in online sports or play online poker – provided the casino operator is based abroad and the player is at least 18 years old. In New Zealand gambling is generally classed into four categories of legal betting, and any deviation of these is described as illegal. Also, a percentage of all gambling proceeds must be returned to the community. Since there are no legal casinos operating online in New Zealand, these are not included in the stipulation.

Ensure you are protected when gambling online

Regulated and licensed online casinos are forced to operate in a professional and safe manner. If the operator is found to have deliberately damaged the player in any way possible, they stand to have their business suspended and license revoked. But don’t be fooled into thinking all online casinos are above board. There are many rogue sites out there that will be happy to take your money and run. Bestcasinos.co.nz recommends you frequent only legal online gambling sites and take cognizance of how NZ gambling laws affect you. For additional information, you can visit the official website of the New Zealand Gambling Commission.

The Bottom Line in online gambling regulation

Most governments have voted for gambling bills that enable online gambling to be regulated by law, providing clear information on what the resident country players can or cannot do when it comes to online gambling. Some countries have banned their residents from making any financial transactions in online casinos, while most allow online gambling but require the operator to follow and comply with strict regulations.

 

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