Underage Gambling in New Zealand

Legitimate online casinos in New Zealand make every effort to prevent underage gambling at their sites. Underage gambling is a serious offence and refers to any individual who willingly attempts to sign up, play, deposit, or interact with an NZ online gambling site in any way.

Any decent online casino will also openly publish the prevention of underage gambling on its site as part of its responsible gambling policy and its terms and conditions. This is where Know Your Customer (KYC) comes into practice. It eliminates any risks, making sure compliance with legal age restrictions is in check in New Zealand. KYC is an identity verification procedure that online casinos and sportsbooks employ to not only detect possible fraud but to also protect themselves and their players.

Legal Age in NZ

In New Zealand, there are many ways to gamble, whether it is playing at a brick-and-mortar casino, online casino, sports betting site, or even playing the lotto. So it is understandable that there may be some confusion regarding legal gambling ages. Here is what each gambling category requires, to give you a better idea.

  • Online casino sites: Casino site operators have very strict rules and terms and conditions when it comes to the legal age. In this case, you will need to be 18 years or older to sign up, play, deposit, or withdraw at an NZ online casino.
  • Land-based casinos: Apart from online casinos, brick-and-mortar gambling spots set the minimum age to 20 years old or above. To enter a physical casino, you will need to present the staff with a valid form of ID such as NZ identification issued by the local government, a NZ passport, or an official NZ driver’s licence.
  • Pubs, restaurants, & bars: To gamble at a physical spot other than a land-based casino that houses pokie machines, gamblers need to be at least 18 years old. Such places also reserve the right to request proof of your age and may keep a record of attendance and your winnings. If you happen to win, the chosen facility can ask for your full name and address and keep data such as your winning amount.
  • Sports betting sites: Sports betting sites have the exact same rules as online casinos do. You need to be 18 years or older to play and place sports bets online.
  • Scratch cards, instant lottery, and instant win games: It is completely legal to purchase scratchcard games, instant lottery, and instant win games if you are 18 or above. If any person under this age is believed to have bought any of these games, the individual may be fined and the act itself is considered a crime.
  • Lotto: This game category includes lotto, keno, Play 3, and Bullseye and there is no age limit imposed. However, if the winnings from these games are above NZ$1,000, then a legal guardian would need to sign an acknowledgement form.

Risks of Underage Gambling

The younger generation may think of gambling as exciting or thrilling, which can be a powerful draw. Gambling is also glamourised in the media and it also has a social aspect to it, which may come across as appealing.

However, there are many risks associated with minors and gambling. For instance, it may cause financial troubles. Minors may not completely understand the value of money and the risks involved in gambling. Further to this, the possibility of addiction may occur. This, in turn, may affect the mental health and lifestyle of your child. Another factor is the legal implications. As mentioned throughout this page, underage gambling in New Zealand is illegal and it carries serious consequences.

Signs of Underage Gambling

As a parent or caregiver, it is important to be aware of the signs that your child may be involved in underage gambling. There are a few subtle signs and some tell-tale signs to look out for. These include:

  1. An increase in new money or possessions: If your minor has more cash than usual or if they have new gadgets or possessions with no solid reasons to back them up, it could be a sign that they are gambling.
  2. Behaviour: If your child shows a shift in school performance or his or her mood, or being withdrawn, this can indicate a behavioural change. While this may be attributed to several factors outside of underage gambling, the possibility still exists.
  3. Spending time alone: If your child is alone and online for extended hours, especially with a search history and interest in gambling games, it may indicate that they are participating in gambling activities.
  4. Proof of gambling purchases: Finding lotto tickets and scratchcards among your child’s possessions is a clear indicator of gambling.
  5. Keen on gambling: If your minor has an unusual or heightened interest in any form of gambling, or positively speaks about gambling, this could be a sign.
  6. Borrowing money: If your child borrows money with no proof of purchase, their secretive behaviour may be a concern. Again, this does not mean it is due to underage gambling, but you cannot rule out the possibility.

How To Prevent Underage Gambling

Here are a few tips on how to prevent underage gambling, prevent minors from accessing your casino or betting accounts, and encourage healthy screen time:

  1. Encourage your child to participate in healthy social activities such as sports, clubs, and other positive community outlets.
  2. Be a good role model.
  3. Talk to them early about the potential of gambling to become a problem.
  4. Avoid gifting any minor scratchcards or lotto tickets, or encouraging underage gambling.
  5. Monitor your child’s activities and know who their friends are.
  6. Establish rules and stick to them.
  7. Set limits on how much screen time is allowed.
  8. Advise your minor to take regular breaks from computer time.
  9. Keep your gambling account passwords safe and unknown.
  10. Add a password to your mobile device and/or PC.

Website Blocking Apps and Software

The websites below can help prevent underage gambling:

BetBlocker: This is a top-rated anti-gambling organisation that has developed software to put restrictions on online gambling sites. There are two options, namely self-restrictions and parental control.

Website: https://betblocker.org/

Freedom: This app allows users to block gambling sites and apps across several devices.

Website: https://freedom.to/

Gamban: The software works in a similar way to the two apps above. It can block any gaming site.

Website: https://gamban.com/

GamBlock: The organisation offers tools to block access to online gambling.

Website: https://www.gamblock.com/

NetNanny: Formerly known as Cyber Nanny, provides you with internet filtering options to block inappropriate content and to control screen time. Website: https://www.netnanny.com/