The Legality of online casinos in Australia and New Zealand: A Breakdown

The Legality of online casinos in Australia and New Zealand: A Breakdown

For some, the laws with regards to casinos and gambling in both Australia and New Zealand may seem rather ambiguous. That's because there doesn't seem to be all that many online resources for understanding if gambling is in fact legal or not. And if it is, what are the restrictions? In the following article, we try to clear up any confusion or ambiguity with regards to the legality of gambling in Australia and New Zealand in our analysis on the laws and regulations surrounding gambling in both Australia and New Zealand.

The Land Down Under boasts the highest amount of gamblers per capita with more than 80% of Australian adults engaged in some form of gambling. Of that, a staggering 4% of the adult population play the pokies at least once a week, comprising of approximately 62% of local gambling revenue. Most laws and regulations with regards to gambling are left to the discretion of the states.

That being said, casinos in Australia are regulated by Australia's Gambling and Racing Commision. And although casino operating regulations are relatively lax in comparison to their international counterparts, the Gambling and Racing Commission still enforces several laws. For one, the casino must be free from criminal influence. Also, gaming activity must be conducted fairly and in accordance with approved rules and operating procedures. Finally, casino administration, finance and security operations must be conducted in accordance with the approved control procedures while casino equipment, cards and chips can only be purchased from approved suppliers. Strategies to minimize damage from problem gambling also must be provided. However, when it comes to online casinos, many of the ACT government's casino regulations are not applicable. This means that the only law regarding playing casino games online is that the casino operator is not located in the territorial jurisdiction of Australia leaving a legal competition open to online casino operators.

New Zealand
Gambling in New Zealand is enforced by the Department of Internal Affairs. Slot machines, otherwise known as "pokies" were introduced in 1987 whereby maximum jackpots are strictly regulated. But as of July 1, 2009, all casino machines were required to have Player Information Displays. These let the gambler their duration of play, the amount that they have lost, while encouraging the players to take breaks.

New Zealand prohibits 'remote interactive gambling'. This involves "gambling by a person at a distance by interaction through a communication device." This would make it appear as though online gambling is illegal according to New Zealand law. However, at closer look, the law does stipulate certain exceptions with regards to the Lotteries Commission, the Racing Board and sales promotion schemes in the form of a lottery. This means that online gambling and casinos can be legal so long as they adhere to the Gambling Act 2003 in respect of Remote Interactive Gambling.

We hope this cleared up any legal questions with regards to gambling at an online casino NZ or Australian casino. Remember, if you do decide to play casino games online, be sure to register with a regulated casino only.