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Everything You Need To Know About the Gambling Laws in Canada and New Zealand 


Let’s face it. Sports betting and casino gambling that includes real money slots is one of the most popular pastimes in the 21st century. Nonetheless, the legality of online and land-based gambling can be complicated depending on where you live. Every jurisdiction has its laws encompassing what is and isn’t prohibited. So, it’s in your best interest to get familiar with these laws to avoid unwarranted surprises down the road. After all, ignorance isn’t an excuse. 

While it would take days or even weeks to cover the various gambling laws in all the various countries, we’ll delve into Canada and New Zealand. 

Land-based Gambling Laws In Canada

Historically speaking, these laws of Canada were stringent and only limited types of gambling were permitted. But, in 1970, far-reaching changes to the legislation of gambling notably relaxed these laws. As a result, Canadians could start delighting in the different forms of gambling. The changed Criminal Code that previously stated that previously governed casino legislation paved the way for provinces to regulate and license gambling in their jurisdictions. These adjustments ultimately resulted in the opening of a barrage of brick-and-mortar casinos across the nation with various provinces running lotteries. 

Online Gambling Laws in Canada 

Up until the 1970s, Canada had very stringent gambling laws. While these legislations encompassing brick-and-mortar casino operations are fairly cut and dry, online gambling laws get a tad murky. Some provinces in Canada have gaming sites exclusive to them, players can rest easy knowing these are entirely legal. Furthermore, it’s prohibited across Canada to buy online lottery tickets. But, online gambling isn’t allowed in Canada if the gaming site you use is unlicensed by the Canadian government. 

So, this seems clear as day. If you want to delight in gaming at online casinos in Canada, you must ensure it has full licensure and approval by the government. If you abide by this rule, you can enjoy your gameplay sessions without fear of getting arrested and facing the full force of the law. Moreover, you’re safe if you use online casinos that have authentic licensure from the Kahnawake Gaming Commission. It’s headquartered in the Kahnawake Indian reserve. The reason behind this is Kahnawake is a sovereign state that’s not governed by the laws of Canada. 

The grey area of web-based casino laws comes into play is regarding companies that are situated overseas but permit Canadians to play at their sites. If these companies function from areas where online gambling is legalized, you can argue that the Canadian online gambling legislations don’t apply. 

It’s worth noting that there are no online casino laws on record that particularly define online gambling as legal or prohibited. Moreover, as far as we know, there are no Canadians that have been arrested and prosecuted for trying their luck at an online gambling platform that’s based overseas. 

Land-based Gambling Laws In New Zealand 

There are regulations of casinos and gambling stipulated under the 2003 Gambling Act that has undergone two amendments since it initially became effective.  The Act guarantees the community gains from the earnings generated by games of chance and gambling unless they all go to charity. 

According to this law, all types of gambling fall into the following classes: 

  • Class 1 and 2 encompass games that don’t require a license and have no commission.
  • Class 3 covers games with a price that exceeds NZ$5000 and need a license.
  • Class 4 encompasses games that are conducted outside licensed casinos. 

Only the forms of gambling particularly outlined in the Gambling Act are permitted, ranging from casino games, bingo, and lotteries, to instant games (scratch cards).

Online Casino Laws in New Zealand 

Remote interactive gambling conducted via telephone, the web, and radio, is prohibited in New Zealand. But, fret not because the silver lining is that it’s legal for gamblers in New Zealand to revel in gaming sites that are run overseas provided that online gambling is allowed in the country in which the site is headquartered. Punters are more than welcome to bask in the thrill that Internet gambling ushers in provided they’re aware that relevant authorities including the government won’t step in to intervene should things take a turn for the worse. 

Closing Remarks 

Just like other legal grey areas, you need to analyze the facts as they are and make an informed decision. If you want to ensure you’re operating within the law, choose licensed Canadian and New Zealand gaming sites to be on the safe side. But, if you prefer not to use overseas online gaming platforms, you can use the fact that web-based casino legislation is unclear, to your advantage. There’s a high likelihood that you won’t face the repercussions for wagering on sites located overseas. 

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