History of Gambling in New Zealand

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A Brief History

Today, we ask, Have you gone around New Zealand and had an experience with the gambling facilities in the country?”  If so, then we are sure you are ready to know more of the gambling history in New Zealand. This is one of the oldest sports around the country which came into existence during the time of the European settlers. 

As time went by, the sport evolved into different formats which are practiced to date including casinos, table, and numerous card games. The latest versions require players to deposit their funds into respective casino accounts so as to enjoy the experience of the game.

Digging Deeper

First Steps to Gambling

Gambling has undergone several processes and steps before it came to its present state. More and more games came to exist just after the introduction of the first game. Below is a quick break down of what the gambling industry used to look like.

Horse Racing

This was the oldest spot in the New Zealand Gambling history. It is clear from records that gambling had been titled an illegal affair until in the early nineteenth century when Horse racing started being practiced. Several banns had previously been imposed on racing, bookmarkers, and gambling which lasted for a year until the government came to the rescue of the industry in the later 1900s.


After efforts of reviving the industry, there came a new form of gambling which was identified as a lottery. The Lotteries became so famous that it attracted many punters across the nation. This lead to the formation of a governing body called the New Zealand Lottery Commission which had a mandate of foresing all the Lottery related activities and a further establishment of a national Lottery that gave birth to the Kiwi scratch cards.


Slot machines were previously identified as pokies. These machines helped gamblers place bets and be able to win fabulous prizes including the jackpots and other cash prizes. Due to the easy mastery of the game, more people across the nation were interested in them and lead to further legislation that controlled players’ behaviors.

Growth of Real Money Online Gambling in New Zealand

Online gambling has really evolved to greater heights making it a lucrative activity that attracts all kinds of players. Online gambling in New Zealand has a variety of games in store for you, we have the video slots and bingo, table and card games and not forgetting betting. 

Huge amounts of funds are seen to be transferred from one account to the other to facilitate the practice among different players. In these new advances, Kiwi gamblers can instantly top up online cash casino account for gaming enjoy the game from any point due to mobility. 

This has made many citizens easily win the huge prizes at their comfort and has greatly contributed to the New Zealand economy. As if not enough the advancement lead to growth in the number of different payment methods that allowed gamblers to deposit funds into casino accounts.

Some New Zealand Gambling Statistics

Gambling in New Zealand previously experienced great challenges including bans and blocking of gambling-related activities. This discouraged most of the Kiwis and lead to small numbers practicing the same vice. Most activities needed more legislation that leads to their survival.

Presently, gambling activities have taken a huge share of contributing to the national government. Reports have shown that New Zealand citizens spent approximately $ 2.1 million on gambling. Further statistics show the strict rules imposed in the early of the millennium had a negative impact on the entire industry as a reduction in the number of gamblers was noted in 2004. 

In recent years gambling activities have really thrived making the industry alive once more. Most people can now conveniently gamble from the comfort of their houses whirl others choose a destination that suits their gambling needs.

Question for students (and subscribers): Have you gone around New Zealand and had an experience with the gambling facilities in the country?  Please let us know in the comments section below this article.

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Historical Evidence

For more information, please see…

Grant, David.  On a roll: A history of gambling and lotteries in New Zealand.  Victoria University Press, 1994.

The featured image in this article, a photograph by Ingolfson at English Wikipedia of the SKYCITY AucklandAuckland CityNew Zealand casino from a walkway above the main gaming hall, has been released by the copyright holder of this work into the public domain worldwide.


About Author

Amanda Wilson

Amanda Wilson is an iGaming journalist from Auckland who finds herself passionate about the online gambling niche. As the New Zealand gaming market is not regulated by the government, she helps Kiwis to get educated about real money games and choosing the right casino operator.