Is Online Sports Betting Legal in New Zealand?
Yes, online sports betting is legal in New Zealand. The 2003 Gambling Act states that residents can legally bet on sports, including horse racing and greyhound racing, through Totalisator Agency Board New Zealand (TAB NZ), formerly the New Zealand Racing Board (NZRB) and the Racing Industry Transition Agency (RITA), which holds a monopoly on all forms of sports betting in the island country.
TAB NZ runs the only permitted online bookmaker in New Zealand, alongside the NZ Lotteries Commission who operate the only other official online gambling site. In addition to operating New Zealand’s only legal betting website, TAB NZ operates approximately 675 outlets across the country, including on-course tote terminals.
TAB NZ offers a wide range of totalisator and fixed-odds betting products, with over 80% of the totalisator betting dollar returned to the customer. The rest gets pumped back into racing and sporting codes, after tax and costs are deducted.
However, TAB NZ isn’t your only option – many bookmakers accept customers from New Zealand.
International Betting Sites Accept New Zealanders
While foreign betting companies have tried to enter New Zealand’s online gambling market legally, only to be rejected, there has been no effort made by the government to block international operators. As these sites have no physical presence in New Zealand, they are not breaking the country’s gambling laws by accepting customers from NZ.
Although there is an advertising ban in place and the government encourages locals to use TAB NZ, New Zealanders can pretty much pick and choose where they bet on their favourite sports. Options include nearly all the major UK and European sites, which offer competitive odds on an array of sports and generous deposit bonuses or free bet offers for new and existing customers.
Due to the legal status of the sites in New Zealand it is doubtful you will have any support from the government if things go wrong, so ensure you pick an established company to bet with. At SBO.net, we only give our seal of approval to sites which hold a valid license from a respected regulatory body like the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) or the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA).
English is obviously among the standard languages for most betting sites available in New Zealand, so viewing the website and communicating with support agents won’t be a problem. However, you may have to hold your balance and bet in either Euros or US dollars, as only a limited number of online betting sites accept deposits in New Zealand dollar (NZD).
Most Popular Sports for Betting in New Zealand
Sport in New Zealand largely reflects the nation’s British colonial heritage. Rugby, football, cricket and Netball are all extremely popular pastimes in New Zealand, and citizens also enjoy watching and betting on all the action via their desktop or betting apps. Here’s an overview of each of these sports:
When you think of sport and New Zealand, memories of the All Blacks performing the haka likely come to mind. New Zealand hosted the inaugural Rugby World Cup in 1987 with Australia as a co-host and solo in 2011. The All Blacks won both tournaments and added a third to their trophy cabinet in 2015, defending their title by defeating neighbours Australia in the final 34-17.
Ruby union betting enthusiasts also back the All Blacks in the Rugby Championship, an annual competition involving Argentina, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. New Zealanders also support local teams in the Mitre 10 Cup and Super Rugby competitions. Although rugby union is the most popular form of the game in New Zealand, fans also enjoy betting on rugby league and rugby sevens.
Known as the All Whites, the New Zealand national football team are five-time Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) champions. These are the only titles the team has won to date, although they have qualified for the FIFA World Cup twice. They failed to advance from the group stage on both occasions, and it has been a similar story in the Confederations Cup – four group stage exits in four appearances.
As most New Zealand football clubs are semi-professional, the country’s best players usually end up playing for clubs in Australia, England or the United States. The top league in the country is the New Zealand Football Championship, which was established in 2004 and comprises eight teams. The top football betting sites also offer odds on the White Ribbon Cup and the OFC Champions League.
World-class players such as Kane Williamson and Trent Boult have helped the Blackcaps become one of the world’s leading cricket teams in all formats of the game. The Blackcaps have recorded memorable Test wins against the likes of Pakistan and India in recent years, but they have also experienced gut-wrenching defeats in One-Day International (ODI) and Twenty20 International (T20I) competitions.
New Zealand defeated South Africa to qualify for the the 2015 Cricket World Cup Final, but ultimately lost to Australia. Four years later, the Blackcaps suffered an agonising loss to hosts England on boundary count after the match and subsequent Super Over both ended as ties. New Zealand have tasted defeat in two T20I semi-finals to date, having lost to Pakistan in 2007 and England in 2016.
Netball is by far the most popular women’s sport in New Zealand. The sport enjoys strong support from grassroots level right through to the world-leading national team. Known as the Silver Ferns, New Zealand’s national team regularly competes with other national netball teams in tours and one-match tests. Most INF Netball World Cup finals have been contested between New Zealand and Australia.
Aspiring netball players hone their skills in junior competitions before moving up to the ANZ Premiership, the premier domestic netball league in New Zealand. The league comprises six teams (Northern Mystics, Northern Stars, Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic, Central Pulse, Mainland Tactix and Southern Steel) and matches are shown on television, which presents lots of live betting opportunities.
The History of Sports Betting in New Zealand
Before we explore the history of sports betting in NZ, it’s important that you’re aware of the major ethnic groups that make up New Zealand.
New Zealand comprises two islands – the North Island and the South Island – located in the southwest Pacific Ocean. The first settlers were the Polynesians in the 1200s who developed into Māori people, before being joined by Europeans 400 years later.
The modern New Zealand culture has been mostly shaped by the British, although since the 1960s there has been a greater influence of old Māori culture. New Zealand was also one of the founding members of APEC in 1989, which encourages free trade across Asian-Pacific states.
For a long time, New Zealand rejected gambling. Sports betting was declared illegal in 1920 until the Totalisator Agency Board (TAB) was awarded a monopoly to run pari-mutuel (tote) betting at racetracks through several local organizations owned by state governments.
In the 1990s, gambling began to grow in New Zealand with the opening of its first casino in 1994 followed in 1996 with the permitting of TAB to offered fixed odds betting and sports betting. TAB NZ was established under the Racing Act 2003 and its responsibilities include promoting the racing industry.
You can find over 675 TAB NZ outlets around the country, offering odds on rugby, cricket and even sheep shearing. Betting products include fixed odds and pari-mutuels options. TAB NZ also operates a phone service and broadcasts racing on two television channels.
The Future of Online Betting in NZ
There currently seems a contradictory stance towards online gaming in New Zealand, where the government will not permit any new operators online yet does not prevent offshore sites. This means that as a sports bettor you can pick and choose from some of the best online sports books in the world.
Whereas other countries are keen to shut down international sites and stop the flow of money out of their boarders, New Zealand do not seem to have any desire to do so at present. The assumption is this will change at some point in the future, although there is no indication when or if this will happen.
Although over 60,000 Kiwis bet with TAB NZ each week, many locals believe the best betting sites in New Zealand are those operated by foreign betting companies. With no ISP blocks in place, you can take advantage of generous bonuses and competitive odds at each of the sites we recommend.
Absolutely! Although the government encourages sports bettors to place their bets with TAB NZ, New Zealanders can access international betting sites without any restrictions. Join one of our recommended sites to ensure you sign up with a licensed operator who offers generous bonuses and competitive odds.
The best betting sites accept New Zealand dollar (NZD). If you can’t select the official currency of New Zealand during the registration process, choose Euros or US dollars. If you go this route, we suggest using a currency exchange website like Xe.com to ensure you deposit and bet within your limits.
No. There is currently no taxation applied to gambling winnings in New Zealand, meaning you can withdraw your profits without having to pay a percentage of the funds to the government.