New Zealand can be quite a confusing country to live in when it comes to gambling online. In theory, the 2003 Gambling Act prohibits online gambling, but only so far as to stop New Zealanders playing at New Zealand casinos. As you can imagine, this leaves quite the collection of offshore online casinos available for New Zealanders to play at and makes the law somewhat open to interpretation. If you are worried about finding an ideal place to play your favourite online casino games whilst living in New Zealand, you needn’t. We are here with an extensive look at the laws, casinos, bonuses and ideal casino setups which can apply nicely to you, as a player living in New Zealand.
Online gambling laws in New Zealand
As we’ve said, New Zealand gambling laws stem from the 2003 Gambling Act. Officially, the law dictates which forms of gambling are legal in the Oceanic country. Regulated lotteries and sports betting games are most certainly legal. The national lottery game and select bookies and sportsbooks are run by the TAB (Totalizator Agency Board), whilst online casino games are only permitted via regulation from the New Zealand Lotteries Commission. As you can imagine, there aren’t too many homegrown online casinos which have signed up to that, since the fees tend to be more than the operators would be prepared to stomach.
However, New Zealanders are managing to spend roughly $2 billion per year in total on gambling, with the average New Zealander spending $41 a week on gambling related activities. The locals must be wagering somewhere and on something, and indeed they are – offshore casinos for the most part. When they aren’t betting on fully legal and regulated sports betting markets (the most popular of which include Rugby union, cricket, football and oddly enough, netball), punters are having a crack at offshore casino sites.
What are offshore casinos, though, and why do so many New Zealand players use them?
The Best Online Gambling Sites New Zealand
Offshore casinos for New Zealand players
Offshore casinos are, by definition, any online casino which is not physically located in New Zealand, and operated by a business based outside of the country. Any online casino which happens to be based out of Curacao, Gibraltar, Malta or the United Kingdom would certainly fit the bill as an offshore casino. Some of these offshore casinos specialise in players based in New Zealand, and they offer the New Zealand dollar, customer support numbers ideal for Kiwis, payment methods suitable for New Zealand players, and indeed even New Zealand themes at times, to lure in players from the country.
Ordinarily, you might question the legality of such enterprises operating inside New Zealand without a license. Well, these offshore casinos do have valid gambling licenses – they just aren’t issued out of New Zealand. Whereby a lot of governments across the globe would stamp out such websites – at the very least blacklist them and at worse, fine them – New Zealand’s government chooses to do nothing about them, making them totally accessible and more importantly, legal for New Zealand players to enjoy.
Online casinos in New Zealand
Whether they are located offshore or not, some casinos simply have more clout than other casino sites and are more appealing to players in New Zealand. You might even say that some offshore casinos are in effect New Zealand casinos, even if they aren’t located in the country. What do these casinos have that those other offshore casinos don’t?
For starters, these so-called New Zealand casinos specialise in offering their services to players in the country. This means that they can offer players the New Zealand dollar as their currency of choice for a kick-off. It also means that locals can obtain customer support around the clock, via a special New Zealand customer support telephone number. Players will also be able to partake in many promotions and bonuses since New Zealand players will not be excluded from them. A top New Zealand casino will also dish out popular payment methods for players based in New Zealand. Ones which locals already use and regularly. Lastly, New Zealand casinos may choose to theme their casino (perhaps even give it a .NZ domain) on New Zealand, giving the impression that the casino is homegrown.
Any offshore casinos can offer their services to players in New Zealand, but it is only these “New Zealand casinos” which really go that extra mile to welcome in New Zealanders and make them feel at home.
Online casinos reviews
Earlier on, we mentioned that we would be able to help you find an ideal casino to play at if you’re based in New Zealand. We mean it. At our website, we have identified the ideal things which suit New Zealand players and started reviewing many hundreds of casinos based on those needs. With our casino reviews, you will be able to scan a lengthy list of casino sites which all fit the bill, in terms of what your average Kiwi wants and needs from an online casino.
Why use our reviews? Like so many other sites out there, we are covering specific casinos. In our case, we are covering the casinos which will likely suit New Zealanders down to the ground. All our reviews have been crafted with honesty in mind. After all, there is no point in bragging about a casino ideal for New Zealander players if it is not. We can’t say the same for our counterparts, though. Many casino review sites simply promote the casinos which pay them the best. These reviews can be biased and won’t necessarily serve the best needs of a New Zealand player. With our reviews, we can guarantee that you will find exactly what you need.
To get you started, we’ve pulled a few top New Zealand online casino sites for you to look at. Yes, they are offshore casinos, but all offer a quality casino gaming experience ideal to players based in New Zealand. Casino Room, Fantasino, Leo Vegas, Casino dot Com, and BGO all offer customised casino gaming ideal for players based in New Zealand. We’d start by checking out those.
Casino safety and security
Any of the casinos we recommend to you will be on top of their game. For that reason, you needn’t worry whether any of our recommended casinos is a safe and secure place to play. We’ve already checked. Our chosen casinos will be secured with SSL (Secure Socket Layer) encryption, firewall your data, be fully licensed from a reputable casino licensing authority, and have a great track history when it comes to customer support, paying out their players, free from financial wrangles, and not appear on casino blacklists (which we’ll come to in more detail in a moment).
We cannot guarantee that every online casino we recommend offers toll-free telephone support to players based in New Zealand, although that is the case in some of them. However, we can promise that any casino we recommend to New Zealanders does offer players in the country a variety of different ways to get in touch, either via live chat and e-mail (free of charge), toll-free or toll-charged telephone, FAQ or other methods.
We can also guarantee that New Zealanders will find several payment methods which work for them at any casinos which we recommend to them. In New Zealand, the most common banking methods used at online casinos are credit cards such as VISA and MasterCard, bank transfers (particularly those made via POLi), Paystation, DPS, PayPal, Skrill and Neteller. Most (if not all) of our chosen online casinos are able to offer you most of those options in one fell swoop, as well as the ability to use your favoured NZD to deposit, wager and withdraw.
Online casino licenses
Given that New Zealand doesn’t have any framework for punishing offshore casinos, or blacklisting them, there is no real issue with licensing either. Of course, we would personally recommend playing at an online casino which carries a major gambling license, and that means from the UK Gambling Commission, Alderney, Kahnawake, Gibraltar or Malta. Curacao is a legit licensing jurisdiction, too, though there have been more issues with blacklisted and rogue casinos out of Curacao than any of the aforementioned licensing jurisdictions.
A word about blacklisted casinos
In most countries where online casino gaming is effectively illegal (as it is in New Zealand), the country’s gambling commission usually launches a blacklist of offshore casinos illegally offering their services to players in the realm. When this happens, local players will be unable to get to those blacklisted casinos without a VPN (virtual private network) or a proxy. However, as we’ve mentioned, New Zealand doesn’t blacklist sites, so all casinos sites are accessible to locals.
This does not mean that there aren’t blacklists you may wish to check, though. A number of leading casino review sites out there on the web operate their own blacklists. These blacklisted casinos have been selected by the organisations based on the way they operate. Not paying out winnings is a sure-fire way to end up on a blacklist. Poor customer support and blatant fraud and cheating (rogue casinos) are also ways in which casinos can end up on one.
Considering that New Zealand permits access to all the net’s online casinos, there is a reasonable chance that a few bad eggs will find their way into the fold. Our advice would be one of two things, to ensure you can avoid ending up a rip-off casino. Firstly, use one of the casinos which we recommend – they are certified blacklist free. If you insist on playing at a casino which we have not recommended, at least check out a major casino blacklist, to see if your chosen casino falls on it before signing up and playing your hard-earned cash there.
Online slot providers
Just like the other aspects of casinos sites in New Zealand, there is no limit on the number of games you can play, or who provides them. All the leading industry giants have a foothold in the New Zealand online casino market, and the same results can be found there as in elsewhere across the globe. Microgaming, Playtech and Net Entertainment seem to be the most popular casino software providers in New Zealand, with IGT, Yggdrasil, BetSoft Gaming, Realtime Gaming, NextGen Gaming, NYX Interactive, BallyTech, Aristocrat and WMS Gaming, kicking it mid-table. All other software developers also dish out games to players in New Zealand, although they have scarcely challenged the top dogs at this moment in time.
There is virtually no type of casino game which you cannot play in New Zealand. Even amongst online slot machine games, players can find classic slots, progressive slots, 3D slots, mobile slots and video slot genres of those games. Alongside those games, players can find table games such as baccarat, blackjack, roulette, craps and table poker. Video poker games, scratch cards, oddities such as bingo and keno, as well as all manner of other games can also be played in New Zealand casinos
Live dealer casino games
Live dealer titles are a particularly impressive if you live in New Zealand. Expect to be able to get your mitts on games from Ezugi, Evolution Gaming, Extreme Live Gaming, Net Entertainment and a host of other developers. Live dealer games include live baccarat, live blackjack, live roulette, live hold’em poker and a few others which vary from site to site. Live dealer games are streamed via video from a studio or brick and mortar casino in Eastern or Western Europe and provide the most realistic online casino gaming experience yet possible.
Online casino bonuses
Online casino bonuses are sometimes the main reason that any player would choose to join an online casino. Just like players in Europe, Australia, Canada, the USA (to some extent), and Asia, players based in New Zealand are entitled to claim a flurry of casino bonuses and promotions. Just how many you can claim depends on the site you choose to play at, though. Play at a general offshore casino and you may find yourself missing out on some of the daily deals, such as prize giveaways and holiday competitions (since you may be living in a country which is ineligible to receive them). However, our chosen casinos ensure that New Zealand players are eligible for the lot, and here are a few snippets about the kinds of promos you could prosper with.
After registering as a new player at a New Zealand casino, the first thing you are going to be able to claim is a welcome bonus. That could come in the form of a no deposit required bonus (a small sum of free cash, which enables you to try out games at the casino). Or, alternatively, it could come in the form of a match deposit bonus. The bonus promises free money when you make your first deposit (or first couple of deposits) at the casino. These match deposit bonuses could be worth up to several hundred NZD at any one time.
New Zealand players will also notice other promos and bonuses abound at their chosen online casinos. These can include loyalty clubs or VIP programs. Basically, players can earn points with every wager they make. These points can be accumulated and over time, exchanged or redeemed for real money, prizes or other promos from the casino’s loyalty club. New Zealand casinos can also offer players refer-a-friend bonuses, anniversary bonuses, re-deposit deals, and daily, weekly or monthly promotions, amongst other top deals.
Play free slots
So, now you have an idea of the kinds of things to look out for when you decide to play at an online casino in New Zealand. However, just because an online casino meets all those requirements, doesn’t mean it is able to offer you a range of slots which will suit you. So, how can you ensure that your chosen casino has what you want to play? Play for free, of course.
We have plenty of slot reviews on our website, and access to demo versions of those games, which can be played for free. Try them out, and discover which slot machine(s) is for you. Once you have that knowledge, you can hunt down a casino which can offer you those games.
Many casinos also offer free to play demo versions of their games, so do try your hand at many of their games before committing to joining an online casino. After all, you may just find that the thing which makes you happiest is a full-on collection of the best slots and pokies in the online casino world.