Guide to Gambling Laws in New Zealand

Currently, New Zealand’s gambling market is thriving. In a country with a population of over 4.4 million people, New Zealand’s gambling market is worth billions of dollars. Playing casino games and electronic gaming machines are incredibly popular activities and, as such, they are heavily regulated by the government to ensure that players do not develop unhealthy gambling habits or fall victim to the dangers that lurk in unregulated markets.

All forms of gambling in New Zealand are regulated under either the Racing Act 2003 or the Gambling Act 2003. The racing act covers racing and sports betting while the Gambling Act covers casino games and poker. Gambling is only legal if it is regulated by either act or if it is private gambling, which includes games played at home or as part of social events. Private gambling is also legal if all players’ stakes and buy-ins are paid out as winnings.

There are four types of gambling in New Zealand. Class 1 and Class 2 gambling do not require operators to hold gambling licenses while Classes 3 and 4 do. Class 1 includes small-scale sweepstakes and fundraising, which means that the total prize pool cannot exceed more than $500. Class 3 gambling includes larger-scale fundraising, where the total prize pool exceeds $5000 and there is no limit on the amount of stakes.

Class 4 gambling has the most complex laws, as these rules regulate non-casino poker machines and other forms of ‘high-risk’ gambling. With Class 4 gambling games, there is a $2.50 limit on each play. These games cannot pay out more than $500 for a single play or more than $1000 for a single play on a progressive jackpot game.

The areas in which Class 4 gambling takes place are also highly regulated. Class 4 games can be carried out in a wide range of venues, but there are still many places in which they are illegal. These include supermarkets, offices, homes, fairs, internet cafés and museums. In areas where Class 4 gambling is permitted, automatic bank teller machines are not permitted. Operators of these venues must also provide patrons with information about problem gambling.

While many religions and moralists may object to the act of gambling, it cannot be denied that it could, through proper legalization and monitoring, benefit nations as a whole. Illegal gambling may pose problems to a society, but as many nations are slowly discovering, its legalization coupled with proper controls can, in fact, turn out to be a better solution.

Around the world, western countries like the United States of America remains to be the few places to earn revenue through legal gambling. This, however, does not mean that Asian countries are missing out this big opportunity. Already countries like Macau are advancing in their ‘gambling industry’, reaping about US$2.5 billion in early of year 2011. Of course, Macau, otherwise known as the ‘Monte Carlo of the Orient’ is quite unique, having had legalized gambling since the 1850s and is still the only Chinese territory that fully allows gambling. In fact,  เล่นบาคาร่าออนไลน์  gambling is what boosts its tourism sectors, making it Macau’s biggest source of income.

Other countries, having witnessed the lucrative benefits, slowly but surely followed suits. In Malaysia, it is legal to gamble as long as it is operated under government permit or license; gambling at homes or in public places are considered as illegal. However, the legality of gambling are also restricted to certain ages and religions – one must be a non-Muslim and over the age of 18 in order to enter any legal gambling premises. By far, Genting Highlands’ casino resorts still draw large group of ‘tourists’, most of them from neighboring countries.

One of these neighboring countries happens to be Singapore, who used to be an anti-gambling nation. As a result, most gambling Singaporeans would travel to Malaysia and few came home with a fortune. Pressured to retain those income within Singapore as well as to boost the tourism industry, Singapore finally lifted its gambling ban in year 2005 and the very first Singapore casino was opened to public in early year 2010. The billions of dollars poured into this economy certainly did not disappoint; not only have the casinos vastly improved the country’s tourism but it was also predicted that Singapore may take over Last Vegas’ spot of the world’s second largest gambling hub.

But there is yet another up and coming Asian country that will attempt to knock Singapore off its glorious seat, and may just as well do so successfully. The Philippines generated about US$69.58 million in gambling industry in early year of 2011, all thanks to their gambling-favored laws that allow both offline and online casinos. There has yet to be any precedence or law that prevents the legitimization of online gambling. This is not surprising as gambling not only brought in tourists and income, it is also indirectly brought in foreign investors, something that the Philippines are lacking. However, legal online gambling sites are limited to only foreigners while Filipinos can gamble away at any government owned sites.

With more Asian countries slowly opening up to the idea of an industry for legal gambling, it may not be long before Asia become the main port in gambling tourism. Even now, the Asia market is slowly increasing and more people are flocking over for an integrated experience – from traveling, sightseeing, and all the way to gambling.

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