Gambling - rules and regulations

The Gambling Act 2003 defines four classes of gambling.

Lotteries, prize competitions, games of chance and instant games mostly fall into classes 1 -3; gaming machines outside casinos into class 4.

Class 1

  • Prizes and turnover do not exceed $500.
  • No licence needed.

Class 2

  • Prizes exceed $500 but do not exceed $5,000.
  • The potential turnover of the gambling exceeds $500, but does not exceed $25,000.
  • No licence needed.

Class 3

  • Prizes in the gambling activity, or in one session of the gambling, exceed $5,000.
  • Licence needed from Department of Internal Affairs.
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Conducting class 1 and class 2 gambling

If you are conducting a lottery, prize competition, game of chance or instant game and the total value of prizes offered or awarded to winners of the gambling (or to winners in one session of the gambling) is less than $5,000, you do not need a licence. However, you must keep to the Gambling Act 2003 and relevant regulations and game rules for the type of gambling you are organising.

Lotteries

A lottery is gambling that involves a random draw that takes place after all participants have entered. Raffles and sweepstakes are common types of lotteries.

Prize competitions

Unlike a lottery, a prize competition is gambling that requires participants to exercise some knowledge or skill.

Games of chance

A game of chance is gambling that does not include a lottery, prize competition, instant game, gaming machine or casino gambling.

Instant games

An instant game is gambling where a winning ticket or entry is determined before or simultaneously with the sale of tickets, randomly or wholly by chance. Consideration (payment) must pass from a participant to the organiser for the activity to be considered gambling covered by the Gambling Act 2003. For a full definition of these forms of gambling consult the Gambling Act 2003.

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Class 1 gambling

Prizes and turnover do not exceed $500.

Class 1 gambling may be conducted by either individuals or societies.

  • Gambling conducted by individuals - all turnover of the gambling, less costs, must be applied to reward the winners of the gambling.
  • Gambling conducted by a society - the net proceeds of the gambling must be applied to authorised purposes.
  • No remuneration or commission is to be paid.

If the gambling is conducted in sessions of more than one game, only one session may be played per day.

Class 2 gambling

Prizes exceed $500 but do not exceed $5,000. The potential turnover of the gambling exceeds $500, but does not exceed $25,000

  • Only societies may conduct class 2 gambling, not individuals. Societies can be either corporate or unincorporated societies.
  • Net proceeds of the gambling must be applied to authorised purposes.
  • The Gambling Act 2003 sets out a number of point of sale requirements, amongst other matters, for the selling of tickets or entry forms when gambling is conducted at the class 2 level.
  • Organisers conducting class 2 gambling should familiarise themselves with section 25 (requirements) of the Gambling Act 2003.
  • No remuneration or commission is to be paid.
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Remuneration and commission

The Gambling Act 2003 requires that for class 1 and class 2 gambling no commission is offered or paid to, or received by, a person for conducting the gambling. In addition, no remuneration is to be offered or paid to, or received by, a person for conducting the gambling, except to an authorised representative of a society if the gambling is conducted by a society.

Prohibited prizes

The Gambling Act regulations set out prohibited prizes, including firearms, liquor and tobacco products. These must be adhered to when running your gambling activity. For a current list of the prohibited prizes, visit the New Zealand Legislation website Gambling (Prohibited Property) Regulations 2005.

Game rules

In addition to adhering to the Gambling Act 2003 and relevant regulations, gambling organisers must keep to game rules for the particular game they are organising. Game rules are a form of regulation. There are game rules for lotteries, prize competitions, instant games and games of chance.

There are a number of rules that cover games played in all classes of gambling. However, class 2 and class 3 gambling is subject to more rules than class 1. For example, there are core sets of rules that must apply to all lotteries, but lotteries played at the class 3 level are subject to a number of additional ticket, record retention and audit requirements.

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More information

The Gambling Act 2003 is administered by the Department of Internal Affairs.

The Gaming Compliance Group (Licensing) can provide you with application forms, assistance with your licence application and other advice.

Gaming Compliance Group (Licensing)
46 Waring Taylor Street
PO Box 10-095
WELLINGTON 6011
T (04) 494 0700 or 0800 257 887
F (04) 494 0656
E gaming.compliance@dia.govt.nz
W Department of Internal Affairs

The Department of Internal Affairs website includes
Gambling Act 2003 fact sheets
Classes of gambling
Rules for running gambling activities

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