New Zealand Online Poker FAQ

Since online poker is a relatively new thing, it’s still not widely understood by players everywhere. The rules, laws, and even general information for online poker remain largely ambiguous. It seems like no one truly understands how poker works online in New Zealand. If you asked ten different people what was legal, illegal, acceptable, or unacceptable when it came to online poker, you’d probably get ten different answers.

To clear up some of that ambiguity, we found the correct answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about poker online in New Zealand.

Is Online Poker Legal in New Zealand?

Yes. New Zealand doesn't have any laws against playing poker at a legitimate site. As a New Zealander, you can play poker at any international websites with real cash.

However, New Zealand has laws against illegal online casinos based in the country. Also, international online casinos are not allowed to advertise in New Zealand. That means they can’t market themselves on TV, newspapers, magazines, or any other medium. In a nutshell, New Zealand citizens are allowed to gamble anywhere they want online, but international online casinos are not allowed to lure them in with in-country advertisements.

Do You Have to Pay Taxes on Your Winnings?

Nope! This is one of the greatest things about playing online poker in New Zealand. You don’t need to pay taxes on your winnings, even from international sites. This is because the New Zealand government considers gambling to be a recreational activity, not a source of income.

However, there is an exception. If your gambling winnings are your main source of income (and if you have little to no income from other sources), you’re considered a professional gambler in the government’s eyes. If you’re a professional gambler, you have to pay taxes on your winnings.

How Many Poker Games Will You Find Running at an Online Poker Site?

Thousands. A large online site has thousands of different tables going on at once. The tables are categorised by the type of game, the stakes, the amount of players, the limit, and the buy-in. For example, one table could be a $1/$2 pot-limit Omaha game with up to six players and a buy-in of $100, and the next table could be a $5/$10 no-limit Texas Hold’em game with up to 16 players and a buy-in of $500. At a casino with thousands of online poker tables available at once, there will always be a table that suits your budget and preferences.

Can You Play in Poker Tournaments in NZ?

Yes, you may. New Zealand does not have any laws against playing in poker tournaments at international online casinos.

Are Poker Sites Secure?

The regulated and licenced poker sites are secure. In fact, their security levels are actually bank-quality. They hold your money like an online bank does. They will give you a login name and password, along with a unique PIN number you will need to use whenever you’re ready to withdraw your winnings. Every reputable online casino uses Secure Socket Layer (SSL) Data Encryption Protocols to scramble the data sent to and received by the website in order to confuse the hackers. They’re also regularly audited by third party firms.

If you’re not sure if a poker site is secure, find the security button on their website and find out the type of SSL Encryption they use. If it’s 128 Bit SSL Encryption, then you’re good.

Can You Play on Your Mobile or Tablet?

Yes. Many large casinos offer apps you can download on your mobile or tablet that allow you to play poker on the go.

Do you Have to Play With Real Money?

No. Many poker sites have free play tables available for players who either can’t afford to or don’t want to gamble with real money. It’s a good way to practise if you’re not familiar with a new poker game.

Do You Have to Play For High Stakes?

No. Like we mentioned before, many online poker rooms have thousands of tables operating at the same time. Some of them have really low stakes (a few cents a hand), and some have really high stakes (a few hundred dollars a hand). There is always a table that will accommodate your budget.

We hope that, at this point, you understand New Zealand’s online poker regulations a little better. However, you can never learn too much. If you want to do some more reading on playing poker online as a New Zealander, you can trek over to the Department of Internal Affairs’ website and read more in depth about the government’s gambling regulations.