Comparing Online Gambling Regulation in New Zealand and Europe

  • 2023-08-04

Online gambling has experienced remarkable growth in recent years, captivating millions of players worldwide. 

With this surge in popularity, countries around the globe have been working diligently to establish robust regulations for online gambling, aiming to protect consumers, prevent criminal activities, and promote responsible gaming. 

In this article, we delve into the online gambling regulations in New Zealand and Europe, focusing on the unique challenges overseas online casinos pose and the legality of playing for Kiwis.

Online Gambling Regulation in New Zealand

In New Zealand, the gambling industry operates under the Gambling Act of 2003 framework, providing guidelines for regulating various gambling activities, including online betting and casino games. 

The Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) is the primary regulatory authority overseeing and enforcing these regulations.


The DIA requires any online gambling operator seeking to offer services to New Zealand residents to obtain a license. However, one critical aspect is the approach to overseas online casinos. 

In New Zealand, operators are prohibited from being based within the country's borders and providing online casino games to Kiwi players. 

Thus, overseas online casinos that operate beyond New Zealand's jurisdiction fall into a grey area, making it essential for players to exercise caution.

Player Protections

The Gambling Act emphasizes the need for solid player protection. Online gambling operators, even those based overseas, must adhere to guidelines that prevent underage gambling, promote responsible gambling practices, and offer self-exclusion options to players who may require support.


Regardless of location, gambling operators in New Zealand are subject to taxation. Taxes collected from gambling activities contribute to funding various community initiatives and projects.

Is it Legal for Kiwis to Play at Overseas Online Casinos?

Playing at overseas online casino in New Zealand is a legal grey area. While it is illegal for operators to be based in New Zealand and offer online casino games to Kiwis without a proper license, no specific law explicitly prohibits individual players from accessing and playing on overseas online casinos.

In essence, overseas online casinos are responsible for ensuring they do not accept players from countries where online gambling is illegal, including New Zealand. However, some overseas casinos may not actively enforce these restrictions, allowing Kiwi players to register and play on their platforms.

Despite the lack of explicit prohibition, players should exercise caution when playing at overseas online casinos. Potential risks are involved, such as a lack of legal recourse in disputes, uncertainties about the casino's credibility, and potential issues with fund withdrawals.

Online Gambling Regulation in Europe

The regulation of online gambling in Europe is a complex tapestry that varies between countries. At the same time, the European Union (EU) provides general guidelines for its member states.

Key Points:

Licensing and Regulation

Each EU member state is responsible for establishing its regulations and licensing requirements for online gambling operators. Some countries, like the United Kingdom, have strict licensing systems. In contrast, others, like Malta, have become popular licensing hubs for online gambling businesses across the EU.

Consumer Protection

The EU emphasizes the importance of consumer protection through organizations such as EGBA, and member states are expected to implement measures to safeguard players, prevent underage gambling, and promote responsible gaming.

Cross-Border Gambling

The EU facilitates the free movement of services, including online gambling, among its member states. This allows licensed operators from one EU country to offer their services to consumers in other EU countries, adhering to relevant regulations. 


Online gambling regulation presents unique challenges, especially with overseas online casinos. In New Zealand, overseas online casinos operating beyond the country's jurisdiction can only offer services to Kiwis with proper licensing. However, the legality of individual players participating in overseas online casinos remains uncertain.

In Europe, the regulations for online gambling differ among member states, with each country having its own set of rules and licensing requirements. The EU provides general guidelines for consumer protection and cross-border gambling but leaves specific regulations to its member states.

Ultimately, New Zealand and Europe players must exercise caution when engaging in online gambling, particularly with overseas operators. Staying informed about local regulations and choosing reputable platforms is essential to ensure a safe and enjoyable gaming experience.