The History of Gambling in New Zealand

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Gambling can be done in many countries and is therefore widely done, both in real casinos and in the online casinos that are popping up like mushrooms today.

This also applies in a country like New Zealand where gambling is regularly taken. What do we actually know about that?

Introducing the Gambling Act and the Golden Kiwi Lottery

The way of gambling today was introduced to New Zealand with the arrival of the first Europeans. Gambling was allowed there for a long time until the Gambling Act was enacted in 1908, which allowed gambling only on the racetracks in the country.

Despite the strict law, gambling (then illegal) remained popular. The law was only relaxed in 1961 when the Golden Kiwi Lottery was born. After that, gambling was made easier and the rules less strict.

Only five legal casinos to gamble in New Zealand

It is also said that there are not many legal casinos in the country, only five. The first of these was opened in Christchurch in 1994, offering tourists the opportunity to take a gamble and have a fun night out in a casino. After that, casinos were built in four other places.

Play on the Pokies

In New Zealand you can also play on slots when you are in the casino. These machines are known there, just like in Australia, under the name Pokies. Have you played enough? Then you can always enjoy a snack and drink in one of the bars or restaurants of the casinos. The slots are not only found in the casino: there are also numerous other places in the country (more than 15,000 in total) and these are managed charities. Can you take a good bet and the proceeds are immediately for a good cause.

Participate in raffles

In New Zealand, you can also take part in raffles if you want to take a chance. The first lotteries were organized at the end of the 19th century with the aim of raising money for various institutions and charities. The first national lottery was introduced in the country in 1933 but because there was not really much to win with it, many New Zealanders chose to gamble in neighboring Australia because there was more money to be made.

Golden Kiwi Lottery from 1961

Gambling in other countries was generally illegal and to combat this, the New Zealand government decided to set up its own large lottery. The result was the Golden Kiwi Lottery held for the first time in 1961. The lottery originally started with only Lotto but this was then expanded with other games such as Keno and Powerball.

Gambling on horse races

Also in New Zealand you can take a gamble and bet your money on horse racing . This is probably the oldest and most legal form of gambling in the country. Its beginnings date back to the early 20th century and the runs are still taking place. In the beginning, gambling was forbidden and you could only do this on the racetrack itself, but later when it became legal it could be done in many places, including from other race courses or other locations.

Laws regulating gambling in New Zealand

All gambling activities in the country are overseen the Department of Internal Affairs. This also immediately means that a certain percentage of the money that is used to gamble must go back to the community. The most recent gambling laws date back to 2003 when both the Gambling Act and the Racing Act were introduced. The latter covers all bets made in sports and horse racing while the former covers all the rest of all bets.


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