Gambling is one of the most popular leisure activities across New Zealand. Millions of residents take part in various forms of gambling every year, and the government has enacted strict laws to ensure that players are able to gamble in safe and secure environments. In New Zealand, special rules regulate the operation of casinos.
All forms of gambling under the Gambling Act 2003 are divided into four categories. Casino gambling and electronic gaming devices fall under Category 4: high risk gambling. The Gambling Act places very strict guidelines on the way in which Category 4 activities are to be carried out in gaming clubs and other venues. There are separate rules for casino gambling, however.
According to the Gambling Act 2003, casinos can be open all day. However, they must be closed on Christmas Day, Good Friday and Anzac Day. Most casinos in the country are not open 24 hours a day; the one exception is Sky City Auckland.
The Gambling Act also states that operators cannot build new casinos in New Zealand. While licenses can be renewed, operators cannot build new properties until the act is updated. Casino operators are allowed to renovate their properties, as we have seen in locations like Auckland. While they are able to expand their hotels, build new restaurants and change the décor of the casino, operators cannot add new table games or electronic gaming machines.
Casino operators in New Zealand must also take responsibility for the promotion of safe gambling among patrons. As such, operators must ensure that a wide range of literature is available to visitors, such as pamphlets that explain the odds of winning at particular games and information about how to recognize the signs of problem gambling. Additionally, all staff who come into direct contact with players must be able to identify problem gambling behaviour. Casinos are required to provide training for problem gambling awareness.