Online casinos are extremely popular in New Zealand. So popular that estimates hover around NZD 381 million have been spent gambling at online sites by New Zealanders over an 18-month period. With much of that cash flowing out to offshore casino operators, it is only a matter of time before authorities put their foot down and take control of the situation. In this article, we will take a look at the most popular of the online casinos New Zealanders are visiting and what these sites have to offer. But before we get to that, let’s learn a bit more about the history of gambling in New Zealand.
The Complicated History of Gambling In New Zealand
The Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) controls all forms of gambling in New Zealand. The Gambling Act of 2003 led to the formation of the Lottery Grants Board which funnels profits from lotteries to local communities for various grassroots projects. The DIA is responsible for administering the funds on behalf of the Lottery Grants Board. The largest private gambling company in operation in New Zealand is SkyCity Entertainment Group. They operate many large land-based casinos and have SkyCity Online Casino on the internet. The move to an online site was prompted by the amount of traffic flowing to offshore online casinos from New Zealand. Here is the complicated part: the country’s online gambling policy makes it legal for offshore casinos to service New Zealand gamblers but the same policy makes it illegal for local businesses to set up their online casinos to operate within New Zealand. Offshore casinos have jumped on this situation and have flooded the market.
Then there is the matter of online poker. New Zealanders love online poker but the gambling laws look at the topic in the same way as it does online casinos. In other words, offshore sites are okay to play online poker at, but if a local business were to launch an online poker site, it would be considered illegal. Plus, New Zealanders who enjoy online poker are encouraged to stay with the major operators in the industry as smaller online poker sites use bots to fill up online poker rooms creating an unfair advantage for the house. One more issue about online gambling that may change should the government take a stand is that online winnings are not taxed in New Zealand. This is partly because offshore gambling sites typically do not provide information on a player’s winning to the tax department. The government of New Zealand sees a stream of income through taxation that is currently not being accessed which could be a lot of lost revenue.
The Popular Online Casinos New Zealanders Visit
This is one of the oldest online casinos in the industry which has been in operation since 2001. It also happens to be one of the most successful. Spin Casino is so popular in New Zealand that they have many members in both the North and South islands. New players can claim a generous sign-up bonus of up to NZD 1,000 and the site features hundreds of slot games including classic 3-reel and 5-reel. There are several traditional table games as well. To find out more about what makes this site so attractive to New Zealanders, check out this Spin Casino review.
Speaking of old online casinos, this was the very first one to hit the internet back in 1994. It has grown considerably over the years and continues to be a top pick for players not just in New Zealand but around the globe. The Gaming Club online casino is home to many well-known progressive jackpot slots including Game of Thrones, Lost Vegas, Avalon II, and Thunderstruck II. The site has a reputation of having some giant jackpot payouts and also features many table games.
Platinum Play Casino
Established in 2004, Platinum Play Casino features over 400 casino games that are provided to the site by software developer Microgaming. Microgaming is a leader in the industry. New players can claim a fantastic signup bonus of NZD 800 and will discover an impressive selection of games ranging from video slots to table games. The online casino also provides players with easy access through a 24/7 customer service department.
This popular site was launched in 1998 and features well over 500 different slots. Many of which have large jackpots, stunning graphics, and soundtracks. Top progressive jackpot slot titles players enjoy here include Mega Moolah, Major Millions, and Wheel of Wishes.
This is another popular online casino for New Zealand gamblers. They offer a great selection of classic and new games including slots, and table games. The site has a good reputation for treating players well by providing various incentive programs and an excellent customer service department.
Speaking of successful online casinos, here is another one. Omni Casino has many New Zealand members and offers a great game selection from software provider Playtech. Aside from the player perks offered here the customer service department is worth raving about.
Here is an online casino that is filled with slots and table games. The game selection is rather good and New Zealanders have been supporting this site for quite some time. They have a great reputation and provide an exciting gaming experience for all players.
Online casinos are popular in New Zealand even if the law means that the only legal ones allowed are those that are based outside of the island country. One thing is for sure, New Zealanders who gamble do it seriously and are loyal to several online gambling sites that welcome these players with open arms. Will the local government make changes to the gambling laws to restrict offshore access and encourage New Zealand-based businesses to establish online casinos? Only time will tell. The deciding factors will likely hinge on how much potential online gambling tax revenue keeps pouring out of New Zealand and going somewhere else. The best bet at the moment is that the Gambling Act will undergo some changes that will alter the online gambling landscape over time.