New Zealand Gambling Commission

New Zealand FlagThe New Zealand Gambling Commission is a public authority and independent regulatory body which was established through one of New Zealand’s gambling laws – Gambling Act 2003.  The Gambling Commission provides an avenue for operators, licence holders, officials, and the public to apply for licensing, appeal decisions, or file complaints. Many countries have developed specific agencies and laws which govern gambling, provide regulations, and grant licences.

History of New Zealand’s Gambling Commission

The NZ Gambling Commission is not as historic as other agencies in the country, in fact the Commission was established and begun operating in the early 2000’s. It opened by order of the Gambling Act 2003 as an institution. New Zealand’s creation of the Gambling Commission in 2003 effectively removed the need for and replaced the Casino Control Authority, which previously regulated gambling before the enactment of the Gambling Act 2003. The Commission is under strict orders to follow all details given by the Act as detailed under Part 3.

What Does New Zealand’s Gambling Commission Do?

The Gambling Commission is commanded to govern and operate itself by following guidelines set forth by the Practice Notes. These procedures are based on requirements given by the Act itself, further detailed in Section 224. These functions allow the Commission powers to determine its own procedure, engagement of experts for assistance, and wide receipt of evidence. The NZ Gambling Commission is mainly responsible for providing casino operator and venue licensing, and freely and publicly displaying various policies, procedures, and conditions regarding casino licensing and gambling in the nation. The NZ Gambling Commission also must act as an office of inquiry as one of its regulatory responsibilities.

The Gambling Commission is required to allow for the application of casino licensing and renewals, specify conditions for the variation, suspension, or revocation of a licence, hear appeals on various forms of licensing, and provide forms to do so, as well as, enforce rules established for casinos under GA 2003. The Gambling Commission is tasked with approving of any changes to casino licence and venue agreements as they are the authority for such changes. The Commission must also hear appeals against the decisions the Secretary of Internal Affairs makes in relation to gaming machines and other non-casino gambling activities such as pokie machines in pubs and clubs made by either licence holders or individuals from the public, as well as, appeals against any regulatory decisions made by the DIA in respect to Class 3 and Class 4 gambling. The Gambling Commission also advises the appropriate ministers on problem gambling and any matters relating to its performance and administration of its main enforcing Act, Gambling Act 2003.

How Is the Gambling Commission Structured?

The New Zealand Gambling Commission works in partnership with the Department of Internal Affairs and while the Commission was established by DIA it is not governed by that agency but rather six appointed members which compose the head of the Commission appointed by the Governor-General based on recommendations made by the Minister of Internal Affairs. One Chief Commissioner and the five Commissioners are to work together to ensure the functionality and efficiency of the Gambling Commission and maintain consistency with GA 2003. The Gambling Commission, if need be, can initiate changes to any condition to achieve consistency.


Who Oversees the Gambling Commission?

The New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs established the Gambling Commission in 2003 under the Gambling Act as an institution. DIA remains the main oversight body over the Gambling Commission, however, in a limited manner, as the Gambling Commission is a mainly independent body. However, make no mistake there is much reporting and back and forth collaborations between DIA and the Gambling Commission.

What Kind of Applications Can I Make?

Applications to the Gambling Commission can be for the temporary or permanent suspension of a casino licence, the application to be granted a licence, and the transference of a casino licence as a result of mortgage chance or encumbrance. Applications toward mortgage change or encumbrance on a licence and even applications for appeals are granted through the Gambling Commission’s website found below in our resources section. The Commission’s website also clarifies when applications are due and what information needs to be provided for application processing.

What Recent Decision Has the NZ Gambling Commission Made?

Many countries around the world have been discussing whether or not video game loot boxes fall under their definition of gambling. A number of countries have said that these loot boxes are in fact forms of gambling and require special indications, warnings, and regulations. Some are called for the removal of loot boxes altogether. The New Zealand Gambling Commission recently came out with a decision they made based on whether the loot boxes were in fact forms of gambling and in 2017 the Commission commented that video game loot boxes are not classified as gambling as it does not qualify under NZ’s legal definition of gambling, therefore needing no special regulation.


The New Zealand Gambling Commission