Gambling Harm A brief timeline in Aotearoa New Zealand

The following is a brief timeline of the introduction, development and acceleration of gambling harm throughout the history of Aotearoa New Zealand. Included in this timeline are several important highlights of various events that led to the displacement of Maori and their increased exposure to gambling harm.


Prior to contact with european cultures, gambling, in the form of playing games of chance for money, did not exist in Maori culture.

Maori value systems differed greatly from colonial Britain and the associated forms of entertainment, such as games used to develop skill and coordination, are evidence of this.



Abel Tasman, the first documented European to sight what would be later named New Zealand.


James Cook circumnavigates and maps New Zealand


Colony of New South Wales established in Australia- Governor Arthur Phillips, includes New Zealand


Kerikeri founded and increase of whalers, sealers, gum diggers and settlers increases accessibility of alcohol, tobacco and card games of chance for money, such as poker.


James Busby appointed as Britain's first resident in New Zealand


Flag chosen to represent Aotearoa


He Whakaputanga o te Rangatiratanga o Nu Tireni- Declaration of Independence of New Zealand signed; First horse race meeting held- Bay of Islands


Te Tiriti o Waitangi- Treaty of Waitangi signed- increase of settlers brought greater accessibility to gambling


Native Lands Act- conversion of traditional communal land holdings to individuals


Native Schools Act- central government controlled systemic schooling- Te Reo use heavily disciplined reinforcing colonial dominance


"Art Unions" run by Otago Art Society- origins of the idea of lottery


Tohunga Supression Act- utilised as a method to increase distance between Maori and their ways of wellbeing


Gambling Act: all forms of gambling declared illegal- except at the races. Bookmaking declared illegal in 1920


Hammond and McArthur Art Union Lotteries run under government regulation


Totalisator Agency Board (TAB) established

A totalisator is a device showing the number and amount of bets staked on a race, to facilitate the division of the total among those backing the winner.


Golden Kiwi Lottery established


New Lotteries Commission established- Introduction of national weekly lottery


Introduction of pokie machines to new Zealand and Compulsive Gambling Society (CGS) established

The NZ ratio of pokies to people in well-off areas is 1 to 465, but the ratio of pokies to people in poorer areas is 1 to 76

in the 2017/2018 year, $895 million was spent on pokies outside of the casino

as of 2018 there are 15, 490 pokie machines across 1,146 venues in NZ


Government approval of casinos to New Zealand


Christchurch Casino built


Sky City Casino Auckland opened, 2000- Queenstown, 2002- Hamilton


Dunedin Casino opened


Problem gambling foundation succeeds compulsive gambling society


Gambling Act established, New Zealand Racing Board established


1st September 2005- 1st Gamble free day, Establishment of Asian Family Services

Services specifically focused on supporting families from Asian backgrounds


introduction of "MyLotto"- online purchasing of lotto tickets


Mandatory Player Information Displays- showing player statistics- length of time, losses- Mapu Maia established

Services designed to specifically support families of Pacific backgrounds


National govt exchanges deal with Sky City: 230 pokie machines and 40 table games for a $402 mil. convention centre

1994-present day

although online gambling has been around since the mid-90's, the increase of accessibility and availability of mobile gambling on hand held devices has drastically increased the opportunity for gambling to take place outside of regulated venues. this avenue presents as the most difficult challenge to the gambling harm minimisation workforce.


under the gambling act 2003, operation of online gambling sites is illegal in nz. sky city have recently announced that they have intentions to develop on online gambling platform that will be based overseas.

Gambling in Aotearoa new Zealand has a long standing history and it's impacts will continue to be felt for generations to come. a greater awareness is required from our society as a whole to recognise that the benefits of some must not continue to be the result of harm to others.


Created with images by milivanily - "fern green forrest" • mickeyshih - "maori stone hai bian landscape" • Carolyn V - "untitled image" • Matt Benson - "Settler" • Ray_Shrewsberry - "pioneer kitchen settlers early america" • JamesDeMers - "hut cabin settlers" • Ken_Woodley - "furniture room chair" • RoadMom4Ts - "pioneer tools early settlers" • Jeff Smith - "Horseshoes for Luck" • Markus Spiske - "untitled image" • Aldertree - "las vegas slots casino" • Hello I'm Nik - "Hitting the slots"

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