The Gambling Act 2003

The Gambling Act became law on 18 September 2003 (many of its provisions took effect on 1 July 2004).

What is the purpose of the Gambling Act?

The purpose of the Gambling Act is to:

  • control the growth of gambling
  • prevent and minimise the harm caused by gambling, including problem gambling
  • authorise some gambling and prohibit the rest
  • facilitate responsible gambling
  • ensure the integrity and fairness of games
  • limit opportunities for crime or dishonesty associated with gambling
  • ensure that money from gambling benefits the community
  • facilitate community involvement in decisions about the provision of gambling.

How does the Act restrict and control gambling?

Under the Act you must be 20 years of age to gamble in a casino.

You must be 18 years or over to:

  • purchase Instant Kiwi and similar games run by the Lotteries Commission
  • gamble on gaming machines
  • place bets on horse races and sports games.

Non-casino gaming machine venues established after 17 October 2001 may not have more than nine machines, and need local authority consent to have any at all. Venues that had a licence on 17 October 2001 may operate no more than 18 machines. Venues that are within these statutory limits need local authority consent to increase the number of gaming machines they are allowed to operate.

What is the Problem Gambling Levy?

The cost of problem gambling services funded by the Ministry is recouped through a levy on the profits of the gambling industry, which is collected by the Inland Revenue Department. The levy setting process takes place following consultation on the Ministry’s needs assessment, strategy and service plan. The Ministry presents its recommendations to Ministers of Health and Internal Affairs. These pieces of work are also presented, along with the proposed levy rates for industry sectors, at a meeting organised by the Gambling Commission. The Commission then makes its own recommendations on the problem gambling levy amount and rates to the Ministers of Health and Internal Affairs, who have the final decision on what rates to propose to Cabinet.

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