The Gambling Act 2003

The Government restricts and controls gambling to prevents and minimises the harm it causes through the Gambling Act.

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.

Read the Gambling Act 2003 on the New Zealand legislation website.

The Problem Gambling Levy

Problem gambling services are funded through a levy on the profits made by gambling operators

The levy is set every three years 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 then presented, along with the proposed levy rates for industry sectors, to 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.

The levy is then set with the formula used for calculating the levy rates for each sector specified by the Gambling Act 2003. The levy is calculated using rates of player expenditure (losses) and rates of people receiving problem gambling services for each gambling subsector. The levy is collected on the profits of New Zealand’s four main gambling operators: gaming machines in pubs and clubs, casinos, TAB NZ and the New Zealand Lotteries Commission.

The Department of Internal Affairs publishes gambling player expenditure statistics.

New Zealand Legislation publishes the Gambling Act which contains the formula used to calculate the levy rates.

Manatū Hauora  publishes the number of people that accessed  preventing and minimising gambling harm services commissioned by Te Whatu Ora & Te Aka Whai Ora.

Roles of health entities

Implementing the Strategy to Prevent and Minimise Gambling Harm is a shared responsibility across Health entities: Manatū Hauora, Te Whatu Ora - Health New Zealand and Te Aka Whai Ora - Māori Health Authority.

Manatū Hauora

Manatū Hauora is responsible for developing and implementing the integrated problem gambling strategy. It monitors progress against the strategy, provides policy advice on preventing and minimising gambling harm and conducts research about gambling so we can learn more and identify approaches that will work best to address problem gambling.

Te Whatu Ora & Te Aka Whai Ora

Te Whatu Ora and Te Aka Whai Ora are responsible for funding and commissioning problem gambling services, and evaluating how well those services are performing.

Department of Internal Affairs

The Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) administers the rules and regulations for gambling in Aotearoa. It monitors the gambling industry to ensure that the rules and regulations are followed and that all gambling is in accordance with the Gambling Act. As part of its regulatory role, DIA prevents and minimises gambling harm through regulation, licencing, compliance and enforcement.

Territorial/local authorities

All territorial/local authorities are required to have policies for gambling venues (‘pokie’ venues and TAB venues) in their districts. New gaming machine and TAB sites need territorial authority approval and all gaming machine sites need territorial authority approval to increase their number of machines. 

These policies must be reviewed during every three year period and communities must be involved in the process. 

DIA, in conjunction with Manatū Hauora, has developed a resource to assist territorial authorities when reviewing their class 4 gambling venue policies. It is available on DIA’s website.

Gambling Commission

The Gambling Commission is an independent statutory decision-making body established under the Gambling Act 2003. The Commission hears casino licensing applications and appeals on licensing and enforcement decisions made by the Secretary of Internal Affairs in relation to gaming machines and other non-casino gambling activities. The Commission also consults with all affected groups on the proposed problem gambling levy rates and makes recommendations to the Ministers of Internal Affairs and Health on the levy amounts.

Get help for harmful gambling

If you or someone you know is experiencing harm from gambling read Gambling harm - getting help

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