Esports is quickly taking the world by storm and dominating nearly all forms of online entertainment. And this has been happening for not more than a decade at least. More and more people are starting to enter the industry thanks to their favourite video games. It is largely due to the video game industry growing beforehand, as there are very few people who don’t enjoy playing at least once a week.
Nearly every single video game we can think of today, that has a multiplayer version designed for it, can qualify as an eSports game. However, most of the currently popular eSports games come as exclusively multiplayer oriented. Games like “For Honor” and “Rocket League” are basically entrants of the market right now, as try to accommodate online players as well as eSports enthusiasts.
Due to such an increase in eSports popularity, multiple betting websites have appeared to accommodate millions of fans wanting to wager on their favourite teams and games. Although most of these companies started operations in the west, places like New Zealand eSports betting websites are quickly becoming flooded by fans.
Let’s find out how the New Zealand government handles the massive influx of Kiwi eSports bettors online, and in general what they prefer to do with the gambling industry within their borders.
There is no such thing as an eSports specific regulation in New Zealand, as it belongs to the sports betting/ fantasy betting class in the whole industry. However, that sports betting industry is indeed under the care of the New Zealand Gamblin Act of 2003. Due to this gambling regulation, most local websites are not able to offer their services to Kiwi players, and rather focus on foreign opportunities.
The eSports betting websites in New Zealand started to quickly multiply when the International Olympic Committee first recognized eSports as a real sport back in 2017. Although, there were still some available beforehand. But the new classification of eSports did indeed call for quick amendments in the country’s regulations in order to implement the new sport.
Thankfully for Kiwi players though, New Zealand did not require any such amendments as the game was already classified under the fantasy betting category. The only thing that was done was that it was moved to the sports betting category. This type of movement did not require any sort of improvement in the law.
As already mentioned in the previous paragraph, New Zealand has a very similar regulation as Australia. The local online gambling operators have all the means to offer their services as long as they apply for a license and are approved for it. One more condition that they need to follow is the inclusion of the Kiwi audience. When talking about inclusion, we mean more like exclusion.
Every New Zealand-based online betting platform has the right to cater to any nationality besides Kiwis. Strange right? Well, they’re not the only ones as Australian operators have the same issue.
The only entities able to offer online eSports betting in New Zealand are foreign sportsbooks and websites.
Much like in Australia, this type of regulation was implemented to take a jab at the local offline casinos, which were causing quite some trouble in terms of citizen well-being. A lot of Kiwis were gambling away their life-savings, therefore at least some regulation needed to be implemented.
With online betting options available in the country now, fewer Kiwis will bother leaving their house for a casino. And online betting platforms have several restrictions on how much can be deposited and withdrawn. Which introduces at least some type of risk management.
Gambling or sports betting in New Zealand is not something new. Being a British colony in the past managed to engrave the industry deep in the roots of the popular culture there. Therefore there is very little the government can do to restrict it. And due to the fact that eSports betting and eSports in general in New Zealand is on the rise, it could prove as one of the hubs for the most interesting customer base in the world.
There is no clear indication as to how many Kiwis take part in eSports betting daily, but what we do know is that they spent quite a lot of money on their gambling habits annually. For example, in 2017 and 2018 respectively, New Zealanders spent nearly $2 billion on gambling. Quite a large chunk of that is expected to be eSports bets. Considering the fact that there are no more than 4.7 million people, that’s quite a lot of funds being spent on gambling nevertheless.
One thing we can say for sure is that eSports in New Zealand are a very hot topic. They are one of the few countries who have formed a national eSports Federation and are directing all of the tournaments being held locally, as well as abroad.
According to that very same Federation, around 64% of Kiwis play video games on a daily basis, and the average age of a player is 34 years. This means that more than 2.5 million people are potential customers and more than half of them are of legal age to place bets on eSports in New Zealand.
When it comes to teams, some Kiwi players have managed to find themselves in the Top 1000 eSports earners in the world alongside their Aussie neighbours. But there’s one more thing that these players have in common with Aussies. It’s that they tend to not stay in their home country to pursue their careers.
Most of these players get invited in European or US teams where they can maximize their earnings and garner much more support. Overall, though, the Kiwis have more than enough players to cheer on a daily basis.
There has been some discussion in New Zealand about retaining eSports betting in the regulatory framework. The primary reason for discussions like these were the cases in the UK, where underage people were starting to gamble away their CS: GO skins on unauthorized websites.
Even though there is no such thing as a British Commonwealth anymore, the former colonies of Brittain are still quite close to each other in terms of political relations. And these cases really did a number on the local eSports industries. For one, it forced nearly everybody to disclose information about gambling risks and to stay away from platforms if they are under the age of 18.
New Zealand however, managed to stay within the manageable region due to their increased age requirements. Only those above the age of 20 have the right to participate in sports betting activities. However, the collateral damage of the event still managed to graze the local community. Parents started to pay much more attention to what their children were playing and what they were spending money on, and the legal age players started to pay a lot more attention to the platforms they were using for eSports bets in New Zealand.
The gambling activity with CS: GO was quite simple to understand. And yes, I said gambling because it had nothing to do with eSports betting.
The players would register on a random CS: GO website, connect their steam API and put their in-game skins as a wager. This would be done by at least 10 people in a single “chat room”. After everybody was ready, the wheel would spin and the owner of the item, where the arrow stopped, would take it all. People lost thousands of US dollars with this. This was no child’s play. It was seen that once this got public, the rate of CS: GO players dropped a bit for a couple of months.
Every player wants to choose a game which is popular with the local community. The reason is quite simple as it helps track your national teams much easier and deduce their chances at success at a much higher rate. Therefore you need to be aware of which games Kiwi eSports professionals specialize in. Currently, there are these games that have teams:
Almost all of the games in the list are industry favourites, therefore, finding a game to bet on will be easy. One thing you need to consider is are the odds. CS: GO tends to have much higher odds due to the game being more skill-focused, while Hearthstone, which is usually dependant on sheer luck, has much less due to the risk.
It’s not uncommon to see 8.0 odds with CS: GO while other games struggle to even reach 3.0. Thankfully though, Kiwis have a top CS: GO player by the name of Gratisfaction, who is a member of Renegades. Watching them should give you at least some foresight of how they may fare against their opponent.
If you’re going to commit to starting an account on a New Zealand eSports betting website, then you need to be aware of the payment methods at your disposal. Most operators will offer you options such as:
And many many more. The more options there are the better it is for the player as they have ways to diversify their deposit habits. Although it is not recommended to deposit through credit cards and bank transfers, because the bank will deem them as an unsafe transaction and take away some credit points from your profile. If enough credit points are taken away, then taking out a loan in the future may prove impossible.
It’s best to go with payments that have nothing to do with banks, mostly Bitcoin and Neteller.
As already mentioned in the New Zealand eSports betting regulation paragraph, an eSports betting operator that is based in New Zealand and is catering to the local population is impossible to find due to regulations. However, there are multiple eSports betting websites in New Zealand that accept Aussie and Asian customers on a daily basis.
There is something very similar to a “non-equivalent exchange” going on between the Aussie and Kiwi eSports betting websites. Most Kiwis go to Aussie websites and, Aussies go to Kiwi websites. Do you see the difference? There are a lot more Aussies out there than there are Kiwis.
However, it still doesn’t hurt to use a neighbours platform every once in a while. But it still isn’t easy for the sportsbooks.
First things first are the license that these websites need to acquire from the New Zealand regulator. Therefore it is very important for customers to check whether or not these entities are legit. In order to do so, it’s sometimes enough to just go to the footer of their webpage and look at the legal documentation.
In most cases, you’d find that they disclose the relevant regulation with a license number. Make sure that you copy that license number and search it on the New Zealand regulator’s webpage. If there are no results, it means that they’re a definite red flag. However, if you do find the license, make sure to see if it’s still active. If it is, then contact the regulator and ask if the license has been updated in the past couple of months. The regulators sometimes delay the updates so, previous licenses remain even if they’re been revoked.
Overall, it should not be too much of an issue to find a good eSports betting website in New Zealand, as long as you know where to look. And once you find one, you should be aware of the process you need to go through to determine their legitimacy. All of which has been outlined in the paragraphs above.