Gambling is, of course, big business in many countries in the world, and even though you may not consider New Zealand as a major gambling destination, it does appear its residents certainly have something of an appetite for it.

What has changed over the years in that particular country is the way in which people choose to gamble, for not that long ago the only way that people living in or visiting New Zealand could gamble was for them to head to one of the legalised land based casinos, and take their chances inside.

However, with online and mobile gambling becoming more prevalent, those with a penchant for gambling are now doing so from their comfort of their own homes.

In fact, with the advent of mobile betting, casino, bingo and poker apps, it is possible for gamblers to get their fix no matter where they happen to be, but as is always the case, gamblers do need to carefully pick and choose which sites and apps they choose to gamble on.

As for the minimum legal age to gamble in New Zealand, well that can be quite confusing for whilst visitors to a land based casino must by law be over the age of 20, it is legal to gamble on sports or buy lottery tickets, for example, as soon as a person reaches the age of 18.

Horse Racing (TAB) Betting

One gambling market sector that does appear to be suffering lately in New Zealand is the horse race betting industry, for the last set of published gambling expenditure figures released by the New Zealand government show that in 2015/2016 punters wagered a total of some $342million on bets.

However, the following year that figure had dropped down quite noticeably to just $338million, which although being only a small percentage drop it is one that may alarm those in the betting industry and there must be a reason why punters are not betting as much as they used to do.

Having said that though, in the five years preceding the above set of figures punters expenditure on horse race related bets and wagers had been showing a year on year increase, and as such that slight drop in 2015/2016 could be the market simply readjusting.


Much like residents of most other developed nations, New Zealanders do enjoy a flutter on the lottery and in 2016/2017 a total of $555 million was spent on lottery tickets.

What is interesting about those figures, however, was that in 2013/14 a total of $463million was spent on lottery tickets, but in the next two years those figures dropped down to just $420million and $437million respectively.

But as the figures above show, the lottery somehow revitalized itself to the point the yearly spend on lottery tickets increased by a whopping $118million on the latest set of yearly figures released. However, it’s probably true to say that most gamblers do know the risks associated with buying lottery tickets and the very small chance that they have of actually winning anything big.


If there is one form of gambling that it would appear people living in New Zealand cannot get enough of, it is playing pokie machines, or slot machines, as they are known in other parts of the world.

It is the ease of access of such machines that makes them so very popular with players, as they can play pokie machines online or on any type of mobile device or in all manner of different venues such as bars and pubs and clubs.

Last year alone some $870 million was spent playing pokies, and those figures have been increasing year on year over the last four years and show no sign of stopping.

New Zealand Casinos

Whilst it does appear that the location of pokie machines are somewhat liberal, land based casinos in New Zealand are very strictly monitored and regulated and in total there are only six such venues spread across the country.

During 2015/2016 some $572 million was spent in land based casinos, but those figures do seem to fluctuate upwards or downwards year on year and that is a sign that those venues are popular with gamblers and no matter what they will continue to prosper in the years ahead, despite the occasional year on year small drop in income.

Online and Mobile Gambling

Whilst the government of New Zealand do appear to have some liberal views on gambling, what they are strictly opposed to is online and mobile gambling.

The only types of gambling activities that can be performed by those two quite different gambling environments are lottery and horse racing betting, and as such playing casino games, bingo or even poker online or via a mobile device in New Zealand is illegal.

That doesn’t stop people gambling online or via their mobile devices but for them to be able to do so they are forced to have to place their bets and wagers at sites that are located in other parts of the world.

In Section 16 of the New Zealand Gambling Act 2003 it states that any company that offers such gambling services to citizens can be fined up to $50,000 and individuals who are caught gambling online or promoting such can be fined up to $10,000.

However, it will probably only be a short space of time before online and mobile gambling is finally embraced by the government, for there are of course taxes and licensing fees to be made by legalising online and mobile gambling and that is something most governments are always interested in.

Whilst a small percentage of the population do have some form of gambling addiction related problem, the support services to such gamblers are top notch, and a 24 hour helpline is always on offer to anybody that is affected in any way by gambling, and that organisation is known as the Gambling Helpline New Zealand and they offer completely confidential help and support and have a very informative website too.