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The Department of Internal Affairs

The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua

Building a safe, prosperous and respected nation


Resource material › Our Policy Advice Areas › Gaming Policy

The Policy Group provides advice to the Minister of Internal Affairs on gambling issues.

Gambling legislation

Gambling Act 2003 repeals the Casino Control Act 1990 and the Gaming and Lotteries Act 1977 and integrates them into a single Act.

Racing continues to be administered under the Racing Act 2003 (with some exceptions, such as gaming machine operations in TABs and racing clubs). The Racing Act 2003 provides the framework for the regulation and governance of the racing industry. The following statutes are administered by other agencies, but impact on gambling:

The Gaming Duties Act 1971 provides for the payment of sector-specific duties by the TAB and racing clubs, the Lotteries Commission, gaming machine societies and casinos (responsibility of the Inland Revenue Department.

The Financial Transactions Reporting Act 1996 minimises money laundering by imposing reporting obligations on financial institutions (responsibility of the Minister of Justice). Licenced casino operators and the TAB are defined as 'financial institutions' for the purposes of the Act.

Current projects

Review of Class 4 gambling sector

Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne announced a package of measures on 7 October 2015 affecting non-casino gambling: the Class 4 sector.
His media statement and speech notes are available on the Beehive website.

The Department has been asked to provide advice to the Minister on a possible wider review of the Class 4 sector. Further decisions about whether to proceed with any review will be made in early 2016.

Background documents are available on the Gambling Consultation Archive page.

Class 4 gambling reforms

Internal Affairs Minister Chris Tremain announced a
package of reforms in the Class 4 (non-casino) gaming machine sector on 19 June 2013. The Minister's aims are to introduce a simpler, more transparent system for Class 4 gambling that will provide more money to the community. The reforms are related to the Minister's work with Te Ururoa Flavell on his Gambling (Gambling Harm Reduction) Amendment Bill, which was enacted on 14 September 2013.

The suite of briefings from October 2012 discusses the Department's advice on the proposals in the Bill and other Class 4-related issues. The Cabinet paper in December 2012 sets out the analysis of the Bill, with an accompanying A3, and the subsequent Cabinet Committee minute invited further work on the proposals. In March 2013 the Department provided advice on various areas where the Minister could consider changes to improve the regulatory framework for this form of gambling. A further briefing was provided in March 2013, along with the final Cabinet paper on the Government position on the Gambling (Gambling Harm Reduction) Amendment Bill. The Cabinet paper, Regulatory Impact Statement and accompanying A3 supported the Minister's intention to introduce further legislation and regulations, which are wider in scope than the Bill, to address other issues that have been identified in the Class 4 sector. The Cabinet Committee minute and Cabinet minute recording the relevant decisions are provided. The following Cabinet Paper and Cabinet Minute refer to the next stage of decisions to advance the Class 4 gambling reforms. In April 2014 Cabinet agreed to develop regulations to:
  • increase the minimum rate of return that Class 4 gambling societies are required to return to authorised purposes; and
  • introduce local return requirements, so that gambling societies must return a proportion of their proceeds to the same area where they were generated.
The associated Regulatory Impact Statement for the Cabinet paper can be found on the Regulatory Impact Statements page.

At this stage, the local return regulations are not being progressed. The original intention was for the local return requirement to only apply to the proceeds raised from Class 4 gaming machines in an area, and not to societies’ other sources of revenue (for example, investment returns or the proceeds from the sale of gaming machines). However, under the current regulation-making power in the Gambling Act 2003, other sources of revenue cannot be excluded from any local return regulations.

In order to implement the local return regulations as intended, an amendment to the regulation-making power in the Gambling Act 2003 is needed. This is a technical amendment and the Department is considering how this amendment will be achieved.

These Cabinet papers also cover the in-principle Cabinet decisions to introduce new publication requirements for societies and to develop a commission-based venue payment system for Class 4 gambling venues. These in-principle Cabinet decisions are subject to the passage of the Gambling Amendment Bill (No 3). The No 3 Bill was introduced to Parliament in May 2014 and its progress will be determined in the next Parliamentary term. The No 3 Bill is available on the New Zealand legislation website.

More information

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