5 Things You Should Know About Legal Gambling in New Zealand

In 2003, the government of New Zealand passed The Gambling Act, which incorporated a public health approach. The Department of Internal Affairs controls gambling and state-owned institutions operate most gambling industries. Currently, there are several legal online casinos. The government accesses its information on gambling from three primary sources: administrative collections, surveys, and general statistical systems. The most developed sources are the administrative collections and surveys done of the public. The Department of Internal Affairs conducts studies and publishes data from gambling treatment providers, number of gambling machines, and gambling expenditures. To understand the gambling industry, here are five things you should know about legal gambling in New Zealand.


Government figures show a rapid rise in the supply of gambling products such as casinos, stake gambling machines, non-casino machines with a stake limit of $2.50 per play, and sports betting. In 1993, six casinos were serving a population of over four million. In December 2003, there were over 22,000 non-casino gambling machines. The increased numbers make New Zealand a perfect place to study the dynamics of gambling. Official figures show that the country lost $1.87 billion to gambling, which is equivalent to 1% to 1.3% of GDP. These figures make gaming a significant factor in the economy. However, the country estimates neither value added nor employment increased by the gambling industry. Also, there are no official measures of the flows of funds through the industry, effects on regional economies, or non-financial impacts.

Who Gamblers?

A study shows that more adult men than women gamble on a weekly basis. Since 1991, the number of regular women gamblers has increased at an average rate of 5.1% per year, while the number of men decreases by 2.2% per annum. Another research concluded that the number of women who participated in Lotto decreased, but more women than men still participate. However, in the previous five years, participation in casinos across both genders increased. Compared to data from the 1990s, fewer men are gambling.

Why People Gamble

Through the 1990s, the reasons given for gaming have remained relatively unchanged. More than half of all gamblers state that they gamble to win money. Gambling is a negative-sum game. Many people lose but very few wins in a big way. Many players noted that gaming is an equal opportunity provider. Participation does not depend on any gender, ethnicity, or intellectual capacity. Winning is also on similar terms. The idea of equalizing everybody attracts several participants.

Gambling Problems

In 1999, the prevalence of problem gambling was lower than in 1990. However, about 125,000 men and 174,000 women suffered lifetime problems and pathological gambling. Another study shows that the number of people approaching treatment has increased in rate of 24.4% per annum. This means that the gambling problem is rising since the 1990s.

Forms of Gambling that Cause Problems

In the 1990s, most people with gambling problems engaged in track gambling. Today, casinos, and non-casino pokies are the crucial games among problem gamblers. Non-casino pokies are by far the most popular form of gambling that causes issues, while track is now close to unimportant.

The government has taken precautions to reduce gambling problems by demanding that all machines have player information display. The display informs players how long they have been playing and the amount of money that they have lost. This encourages the players to take breaks or just walk away for good so they don’t lose any more money.  

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