Gambling in New Zealand: Anything You Wanted to Know

The Department of Internal Affairs is in charge of handling Gambling in New Zealand. A percentage of the profits from every public gambling is required to be given to the society. State-owned institutions are controlled by the highest percentage of the betting industry. Betting expenses in 2008 are about $NZ 2,034 billion ($NZ 480 per capita) which is a ten times increase from 1985’s estimation.

Horse Racing in New Zealand

In 1920, bookmarking became illegalized in New Zealand which limited race betting to only on-course even after the launch of the TAB, the Totalizer Agency Board in 1961.


In December 1877, the Otago Art Society carried out New Zealand’s first Art Union. These organizations employ these firms and individuals to facilitate the raising of funds. In 1933, the first national lotteries also called “Art Unions” was established.

The rewards in the Art Union are usually a small portion of alluvial gold. In 1935 for instance, the Golden Treasure Art Union sold over 200,000 tickets and gave out the first prize of £2000 down to the eleventh prize of £200 and over 400 £2. Many individuals were enticed to illegally buy tickets in lotteries abroad like the Australian Tattersall’s lottery due to very low revenue. Due to a reduction in Art Union sales, an analysis was carried out in the late 1950s by the Second Labor Government and the Golden Kiwi lottery was also unveiled by the National Government.

In 1987, the New Zealand Lottery Commission was launched. It initially introduced a product known as Lotto which was later replaced by daily keno, the instant kiwi scratch card and Big Wednesday which is a Lotto variant. In 2008, lotto tickets also became accessible on the internet.

TAB, popularly known as Totalizer Agency Board is a sports gambling firm that is managed by the New Zealand Racing Board.


Pokies are popularly known as slot machines and were launched in 1987. They are usually found in bars and hotels and commonly run by charity institutions. The highest stakes are usually controlled. It experienced a return of $10,096 billion by the end of 2008 in which $9,158 billion were given out as rewards which makes player loss estimated at $938 million. This generated estimate reveals a 9% fall from the optimum year of 2004. In 2008 alone, pokies generated 46.1% of the total expenses on gambling after which a 5% decline in expenses was experienced until June 2009 amounting to $889 million. 19,479 slot machines were run in I,501 locations by 384 licenses which are still a reduction when compared to the 2008 estimates.

Player information displays became a requirement in all slot machines beginning from July 1, 2009, which reveals the player’s playing period, loss estimates and urges them to stop for a while.
A research carried out in 2010 indicated that the high level of crime was as a result of a large number of slot machines.

The Government declared on May 2013 that in return for a $402 convention center, permission will be granted to SkyCity Auckland for the setup of 230 extra slot machines and 40 additional betting tables.


There are six functioning casinos in New Zealand in which the first was launched in 1994.

  • Dunedin Casino
  • SKYCITY Queenstown
  • SkyCity Auckland
  • Christchurch Casino
  • SKYCITY Wharf Casino
  • SKYCITY Hamilton

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