New-age online casinos have changed the way New Zealand players treat lotteries. From physical tickets to their virtual versions, these bills have evolved with time. While online casinos might be new and highly regulated, New Zealand is not new to lotteries.
Few people in Aotearoa New Zealand will argue that online Lotto in the country doesn’t share a similar passion and status as the following the All Blacks enjoy from their rugby union fans. Online Lotto is the national lottery game for Kiwis. So much so that some New Zealanders who play it probably don’t even think of it as gambling. That’s because the transition from buying Lotto tickets from official agencies, since the late last century, to the online version today has been a seamless one.
Online Lotto comes under the umbrella of the New Zealand Lotteries Commission, also known as Lotto NZ, and is available to Kiwis as a gambling platform every day of the week, albeit close to the closing time before the televised drawing of the winning numbers. The popularity of online Lotto stems from people avoiding snaking queues at retail outlets since its introduction in 2008. Instead, Kiwis now are warming up to playing Lotto on the move via their mobile platforms, no matter where they may be stranded in the world.
In digging up vital information for Kiwis sold on online lotteries, we’ve gone the extra yards to ensure you won’t have to let your fingers stray from our website post in trying to match the largest single ticket prize winning of $NZ44,066,667 in the Powerball draw of November 9, 2016, in Auckland. Whether it’s the history, laws, or types of games and variants that online lotteries offer, we’ve left no stones unturned to make your gambling experience an enjoyable and memorable one. It’s a simple game, so we’ve kept that level of summary in our post to ensure you grasp the fundamentals with ease.
The NZ Lotteries Commission had established Lotto NZ on June 1, 1987, with the blessing of the government. It had been business as usual from July 22 that year. Having drawn the guidelines to engage with its true-and-tried landline formula to be played twice a week, Lotto NZ had eventually advanced to launching MyLotto from May 26, 2008. That had also embraced other gambling games of Keno and Bullseye.
However, the origins of that type of gambling is evident as far back as 1932 when the national “art union” lottery, albeit with small prizes, to prevent citizens from gambling illegally overseas. The government had introduced a taxation policy in the 1950s although the revenue from it was poor. In 1961, it had launched the Golden Kiwi to public acclaim although religious groups had expressed criticism.
The New Zealanders’ love affair with the Golden Kiwi had ended in 1989 owing to Lotto’s magnetic effect. The upshot of this account is to emphasise how much Kiwis love the lottery and the birth of the Instant Kiwi. To illustrate that passion, it pays to know that the then inaugural Golden Kiwi’s 250,000 tickets had sold out within 24 hours of going on sale. The prize money was £12,000 in those days, which was four times what the country had offered for any other national lottery before that.
On the other hand, the landline Lotto’s inaugural draw had $NZ360,000 at stake as its first-division prize. During the maiden 12 months, New Zealanders had spent a staggering close to $NZ250 million in keeping with the Lotto NZ’s policy of excellence and service in vigorously pursuing the “discretionary dollar”. In an attempt to boost its profits, Lotto NZ had introduced the Lotto Strike on April 3, 1993. At a cost of $NZ1, the Lotto ticket buyers could try their luck in posting the four consecutive winning numbers in the exact order for the prize of $NZ100,000. The Lotto Strike first prize money now averages around the $NZ300,000 mark. Those who register three in a row and two often claim $NZ667 and $NZ67, respectively. One number earns players a free line of strike numbers for the impending draw the following Saturday.
Not done, Lotto NZ had spawned several other games and derivatives to whet the appetite of Lotto players. Here are some:
We felt it was important to outline a cross-section of such games to give Kiwis an insight on how they have had a never-ending love affair with gambling of this nature. Not surprisingly, with a millionaire guaranteed each week in the country via Lotto from 2002 to 2004, more Kiwis had gravitated to Lotto. That had spurred the game’s guardians to keep finding derivatives and new formulae to feed players’ habits in maximising profits. It’s a win-win situation, right?
What was an NZ50 cents a line in 1987 had evolved into jackpots and super draws. As the sum of money required to purchase a ticket grew, Kiwis had become more resourceful. Friends, relatives, and workmates had started splitting the costs in the hope of sharing windfalls while some had begun to form serious syndicates in the fashion of horse racegoers. At the turn of the 21st Century, more than 50% of the New Zealand population had been seeking flutter from Lotto by picking their own favourite numbers or opting for a stress-free computer-generated digits.
Embracing its citizens’ mindset of playing an inexpensive fun-filled entertainment that could net them a fortune, Lotto NZ has championed a therapeutic effect of Kiwis not just buying a row of numbers but actually engaging in activities that lifted them from the doom and gloom that can take hold of those who aren’t coping with the daily grind by offering a glimmer of hope. No doubt, taking to the online platform was just another way of making it accessible to its citizens in an even less stressful mode.
In impressing a responsible method of playing and knowing their limits, Lotto NZ sees itself as a Kiwi gaming provider that has created a community funding model that is benefiting the population. With Kiwis contributing with ticket sales that generate more than $NZ100 million annually, Lotto NZ’s funding arm, the Lottery Grants Board, is able to reinvest the profits into community projects.
It estimates close to two million adults play at least one of its games once a year, yielding close to 65 million winners. That has generated more than $NZ4 billion to date in contributions to the Lottery Grants Board to distribute mainly to predominantly the NZ Film Commission, Creative NZ, and Sport NZ.
Of all the laws established to police gambling in New Zealand, it’s safe to say lotteries aren't in the safest hands. While the Gambling Act 2003 and the Crown Entities Act 2004 control and authorise the procedures of the NZ Lotteries Commission and Lotto NZ, the government is coming under increasing pressure to prevent under-age children buying lottery tickets and related games from retail outlets. Section 238 of the Gambling Act 2003 defines the functions of the NZ Lotteries Commission which, by default, endorses Online Lotto as a legal form of entertainment and gambling for Kiwis.
That’s why Online Lotto is becoming increasingly favourable as a safer platform to protect children, especially Pasifika, on account of our research and reviews. In following a strict registration and identification process, digital platform providers are ensuring under-age players won’t be entering their iGaming lounges to gamble. One can only imagine the problems arising from youngsters infiltrating the digital playgrounds had the online casinos and betting agencies not implemented their checks and measures.
“At the moment, anyone who’s able to walk and talk could walk into a store and buy a Lotto ticket and be sold one,” a Radio New Zealand (Radio NZ) report in September 2022 quotes Associate Professor Maria Bellringer, director of Auckland University of Technology’s Gambling and Addictions Research Centre. “It just normalises gambling behaviour as being something that anyone can do and is fun and fine.”
Her research shows gambling habits among 7% of the nearly 900 Pasifika children, aged 9 and living in New Zealand, have purchased a ticket. Only the Instant Kiwi game has an age restriction of 18 (R18). Bullseye and Keno are fair game for anyone, if the laws are anything to go by. A 2015 study had shown Pasifika families were giving their children Instant Kiwi scratch cards (scratchies) as gifts.
For the record, any online gambling operation can enter the New Zealand cyberspace to ply its trade. We advise Lotto players to read our reviews and consider our recommendations before engaging with their chosen games. Selecting trustworthy overseas digital platforms that measure up to safety standards is a must because it’s easy for cowboy merchants to leave a sour taste in the mouths of Kiwi gamblers.
With legislation amended and updated regularly, the Department of Internal Affairs has strict guidelines to ensure the lottery regulating bodies and their arms conduct, organise, and promote lotteries for the purpose of generating profits that are reinvested into the community via the Lottery Grants Board. All matters pertaining to New Zealand lotteries are tabled to the government minister. It remains to be seen if and when the government passes legislation to protect underage children from landline lottery shops.
Lotto NZ chief executive Chris Lyman told Radio NZ it would gladly introduce age restrictions, but its legal advice showed it could not do that without a law change. The Internal Affairs Minister Jane Tinetti is uncomfortable with children buying Lotto tickets and is seeking a law change. For now, no under-age people will feature as images on its products and no children’s board games, such as Battleship, Cluedo, Monopoly, and Scrabble, will be featured either. Watch that space!
The Online Lottery platforms require an 18-years-and-over rating for Kiwi gamblers before they can access any of their products, something that had risen to prominence when Lotto NZ had launched its MyLotto online sales channel. Any players who enter the iGaming lounge of any digital platform — local or overseas — must meet the requirements of the providers’ registration process to verify their age.
Among other measures the NZ Lotteries Commission has put into place to minimise harm is to review all its products at the designing phase. It consults the Ministry of Health, especially when modifying existing games or creating new ones. According to official ministry documents, 240 people had sought professional help for problem gambling that included lottery products in 2021. Most of our trusted online gaming providers have inhouse and external Kiwi support services only a click away on their landing pages.
The beauty of buying Online Lotto is that Kiwis can gamble domestically and internationally without even leaving their gaming rooms at home. No need to head to your nearest Lotto retail outlet to join a snaking queue for a ticket. Just do it from your mobile device at home. That’s why we will list our best Online Lotto sites in New Zealand, so you don’t have to waste time doing research to compare providers.
In considering the best sites, it pays to look for those that are tailored to your needs. If the odds of winning tens of million kiwi dollars in the country doesn’t whet your appetite, then you have the option to buy online tickets to up to some of the 50 biggest draws in the world. The best part is New Zealanders are not taxed for any windfalls, although the country hosting the lottery may do so.
Then there are the draws that push gamblers into the mind-boggling odds that propel winnings into the $NZ1.5 billion vicinity, should they strike the jackpot. Online Lotto providers, such as the US Powerball, Mega Millions, and the EuroMillions, classically fall into this category. Much closer to home are the Monday/Wednesday Lotto, Oz Lotto, Powerball Lotto, and Saturday Lotto in Australia. They can be concierge service providers or, akin to Lottoland, a Lotto betting shop with insurance cover.
In listing our best Online Lotto sites, our reviewers have taken into consideration variables such as bonuses, fees, games selection, payment methods, player support, ticket prices/options, and trustworthiness of providers. How many boxes each digital provider ticks off determines their status. We believe that despite more than 10 sites in New Zealand, Kiwis only need no more than three to cover their bases. Here’s what our reviewers have come up with:
You can often predict the quality of a provider owing to its website. TheLotter New Zealand does that with aplomb. The online lottery ticket messenger service has been serving globally since 2002. Laora Ltd, registered in Cyprus, offers a 45-plus global lotteries experience that Kiwis are enjoying. It has 24/7 customer support, mobile apps for Android and iPhones, and GeoTrust 128-bit SSL security protection. It’s hard to go past TheLotter’s $105 million prizes paid out to more than seven million ticket holders to date. They include a Panamanian woman’s $30 million win from a Florida Lotto jackpot and an Iraqi man’s $6.4 million from the Oregon Megabucks. Having some Kiwi winners and material on TheLotter will help. It doesn’t have a phone service but promises to call back Kiwis in distress if contacted by live chat or email (within 24 hours).
Around since 2012, LottoAgent has been able to stamp its mark. Its website isn’t as snazzy as TheLotter and neither does it offer as many global lotteries as our No.1 pick. However, the easy-to-navigate LottoAgent covers 30 major lotteries worldwide (including the major jackpots) and claims to have paid out more than $12 million to global winners. A rolling winners’ board states sums as small as $30 although a few Kiwis’ names will help them find better traction in NZ. What struck us about the Curacao-registered LottoAgent was its around-the-clock customer service (chat, email, phone). A 256-bit encryption technology secures all the transactions of LottoAgent who are cardholder compliant with PCI DSS (payment card industry data security system) certification. Now all of that spells trustworthiness. However, notifying winners can be better than just via email.
We’ve included this site next because if Kiwis stumble on to this, we want them to greet it with a smile. Why? Because LottoSmile takes you straight to TheLotter New Zealand website as the latter is the parent body. However, there are differences between the two because LottoSmile appears to be designed to cater to India gamblers, maybe targeting India nationals living in NZ. LottoSmile has all the bells and whistles, including syndicates and bundles, as well as automatic VIP benefits, on an intuitive interface ideal for Kiwi newcomers. However, it doesn’t have Android/iPhone apps. Inexplicably, it doesn’t offer time references to its live-chat facility. A WhatsApp line doesn’t do much for confidence. Another head scratcher is the limited number of payment methods. It could be better.
Established in 2013, Lottoland NZ offers Kiwi lottery gamblers something different from the other providers. Operators EU Lotto Ltd, registered with its headquarters in Gibraltar, don’t sell nor buy Online Lotto tickets for gamblers. Lottoland’s point of difference is that it’s a lottery betting platform. That means New Zealanders will wager on the outcome of the 33 draws Lottoland offers rather than engaging with the live draws. A 40-second YouTube highlights some points on its elaborate website, but it could have been longer. Lottoland’s trustworthiness comes under the regulation of the UK Gambling Commission, the Gibraltar Gambling Commission, and the Revenue Commissioners in Ireland. It guarantees more than $1,6 billion in prize money to date with the underwriting of major insurance companies. It offers a free Android/iOS phone app, main payment methods, and SSL encryption protection. What will thrill Kiwis is that Lottoland blends casino games and a sportsbook on the lotteries site. More payment methods, especially PayPal, and a 24/7 customer support will make Lottoland more attractive to Kiwis.
This is what’s known as a lottery concierge service that buys foreign tickets and acts as a trustworthy guardian. As far as websites are concerned, GiantLottos seduces the eye with a what-you-see-is-what-you-get impression rather than trying to impress with state-of-the-art software. Fifteen lotteries are ticking down the clock to draw days on its dashboard layout of vibrant colours. Green tabs usher Kiwis on to Lotto Bundles, Lotto Syndicates, and Spanish Raffles. Below that are the compact results and limited one-time offers to encourage registration. A 2-minute, 22-second YouTube instructions is a game changer, especially for Kiwis new to the digital landscape and is food for thought for Lottoland. In a 12-year service, GiantLottos boasts a 100% pay out and offers expert advisers. Secure payment methods and email contacts for accounts, general, and payment queries add value. We found the 5% agent fee off putting. Bonuses don’t mix with concierge services. More global lotteries and a 24/7 customer-care support service with an 0800 Kiwi phone number will give our top four a run for their money.
As always, our advice to Kiwis is to read the Online Lotto providers’ website terms & conditions thoroughly before entering their iGaming lounge. Jaw-dropping jackpots, bumper bonuses, VIP memberships, and low fees can become a liability in a blink of an eye on finding out potholes pertaining to things such as taxation policies in different countries and agents’ fees.
Mention Lotto in New Zealand and everyone, including children, will give you a big smile. It is the most renowned form of lottery in the country. Children glued to TV sets watch the balls rolling out of the machine during weekly Wednesday or Saturday live draws to make sense of what the game entails. They also know how happy mum and dad can be when they strike winning numbers and that it could equate to a tropical island family holiday, a new 4WD vehicle, or even a shift to a better home.
Available at corner dairies and supermarkets, this type of lottery is commonly referred to as the 6-40 game. That is, Kiwis select six numbers from a range of 1 to 40 in the hope of becoming a millionaire if their numbers line up. If it’s too much for some to pick their own numbers, then go for a Dip where the computer system of Lotto NZ will cough up six random numbers. Amp up that selection of your numbers with a correct bonus number and the windfall will become a life-changing experience.
It costs NZ70 cents a line and players must purchase a minimum of four lines to constitute a game to enter a draw, so a minimum of four lines will be $NZ2.80. The cost for a line is marginally higher as you opt for other variants to boost your chances of winning bigger purses. Seven divisions of prizes are up for grabs with Lotto lines and when combined with Powerball numbers.
Here is a list of the most common types of online lottery games (in alphabetical order):
Selecting an Online Lotto site can turn out to be a pretty confusing and frustrating exercise, especially if New Zealanders are contemplating venturing on to a platform for the first time. At face value, the dazzling sites, number of global draws, range of games, and bonuses and promotions may not seem too daunting but it’s the more intricate, hidden details that can cause some concern down the road to spoil one’s gambling experience.
That’s where we’ve come in to help you choose the best Online Lottery site that is tailored to your needs. For those who have had to follow that process in selecting online casinos and sports betting sites, it’ll seem a familiar territory. Otherwise, it’ll pay for Kiwi Online Lotto enthusiasts to use our checklist to narrow down a handful of sites that will make their life easier and the lottery experience an enjoyable and memorable one.
Our checklist makes the top three a priority in terms of non-negotiable factors as starting points, but the remaining ones are at your discretion to shuffle as they suit your requirements. Here they are:
Note: This is our power-point checklist, but it is by no means an A-to-Z comfort zone. New Zealanders may have variables that only matter to them as individuals, so use your discretion. What it does offer is a sound structure to keep you in the straight and narrow to identify quality providers to select from, whether it is for the short term or in the long run.
Ijeoma Esther is an iGaming content writer and editor with over a decade of experience in the New Zealand mobile casino industry. While initially diving into online casino gaming as a hobby, she soon found herself immersed in the enthralling world of mobile slot and live casino games.Through the years, she discovered that writing about her favorite pokies was just as fun as playing them.