Online casinos have not had a better run in NZ as they do now. As traditional casinos grapple with stagnation, online gambling is consistently growing each year. It’s a trend that would catch the attention of the entrepreneurial eye — there is opportunity. But it’s one thing to identify a business opportunity and another to harness it. We take a look at how you can form your own online casino and start earning from online gambling’s growing popularity.
Understanding New Zealand's Gambling Regulations
All gambling in New Zealand is governed by the Gambling Act 2003. It details the licensing requirements, legal obligations and the penalties for violations. The Act aims to foster fairness and transparency in gambling operations for all parties. It tasks the Department of Internal Affairs and the New Zealand Gambling Commission (NZGC) with overseeing the licensing and regulation of casino operators in NZ.
While the Act is the principal gambling regulation in the country, there is an important caveat when it comes to online casinos. It prohibits any person from operating an NZ-based online casino but does not bar residents from signing up and playing on online casinos licensed and based overseas. Effectively, there are no legal restrictions stopping a NZ resident from establishing an overseas online casino.
Steps to Establish an Online Casino in NZ
Research & Planning
Knowledge is your biggest asset in setting up a successful online casino in NZ. Market research is a critical first step. Obtain relevant industry, market and customer data. This could be from industry publications, government reports, customer surveys and polls.
The data and subsequent analysis can provide crucial pointers on target audience, competitors, customer personas, game preferences and spending patterns. That way, the online casino is built from the ground up focused on the customer experience. Thereafter, develop a business plan that details key facets of the company such as target market, growth strategy, pricing and financial projections.
Obtaining a Licence
It is possible to run an overseas online casino without any licensing. However, if you want to build a credible, viable and trustworthy business that you could even sell later on, you should obtain a licence from a reputable gaming authority.
The NZ government does not licence online casinos so you have to get that from an overseas entity. There are about half a dozen gaming authorities that have built a strong reputation and global recognition over the years. These include the Kahnawake Gaming Commission, Alderney Gambling Control Commission and Malta Gaming Authority.
The licensing requirements, costs and timelines will vary depending on the authority. Either way, expect a rigorous months-long process that costs thousands of dollars. You will be required to submit detailed documentation such as identification documents, business registration, bank accounts, registered office, proof of address and internal business policies.
Selecting Casino Software & Game Providers
Do not leave your choice of casino software and games to chance. Remember, your casino will not only attract first time gamers. There will be a sizable number of seasoned players that can distinguish good quality online casino platforms/games from run-of-the-mill ones.
If your casino earns a bad reputation for gameplay quality in gambling circles, it’s going to be hard to make it a successful business. Make sure your casino has all the popular game types such as pokies, roulette and blackjack. More importantly, ensure you obtain these from reliable game providers such as Microgaming, Playtech and NetEnt.
Website Development & Mobile Compatibility
Your website is going to be the first impression of your online casino in NZ. The gaming platform and game variety could be world class but it will only matter if it is hosted on a website that is user-friendly, easy to navigate, intuitive and seamless.
Further, the website should follow responsive design. It should adjust to conform to different screen sizes depending on whether the player accesses it on a smartphone, tablet or laptop/desktop computer. Mobile accessibility is especially important given the majority of users will be accessing your site on their phones.
Implementing Payment Systems
Money matters are arguably the most sensitive component of an online casino. Choose payment methods that provide players with convenience, speed, affordability and security. The greater the variety of reliable payment options, the better. Integrate conventional channels such as bank transfers, credit/debit cards and web wallets but also viable emerging alternatives like cryptocurrency.
Marketing & Promotions
Develop marketing strategies, plans and campaigns that increase your online casino’s visibility and attractiveness. You may need paid online ads to kick things off. Thereafter, maintain growth momentum by regularly running promotions, offering bonuses and setting up a loyalty program. The goal is to encourage new players to sign up and existing ones to stay on.
Ensuring Fair Play & Security
Everyone that gambles recognizes that, in each play session, there is a high likelihood of losing their bet. However, it is important that players know that they will be treated fairly and their personal data secured.
Your online casino should have policies and technologies that enforce principles of fair play such as randomness of outcomes, timely payment, SSL encryption and privacy protection. The use of random number generators (RNGs) is especially important as it demonstrates your commitment to creating a level playing field for all parties.
Ongoing Maintenance & Customer Support
Regular Software Updates
The technology landscape is constantly evolving with new opportunities, system bugs and threats emerging every day. To stay ahead of these changes and keep your online casino running seamlessly, regularly update all technology to their most current versions. That includes the website, plugins, casino software and games.
Establishing a Reliable Support Team
Despite your best efforts to create an easy-to-use, problem-free environment, users will occasionally run into challenges. Assemble a knowledgeable customer service team that’s available 24/7 on multiple channels including live chat, phone, support ticket and email. Address customer concerns quickly and conclusively to maintain customer satisfaction.
A growing industry is a good indicator of entrepreneurial and investment opportunity. While you cannot legally start an online casino that is registered and based/hosted in NZ, there is no restriction on doing so overseas. By launching an overseas online casino, you get to tap into the NZ gambling market as well as players from the rest of the world.
To earn user trust and realise sustainable growth, adhere to the highest possible regulatory, legal and ethical compliance standard. It can be tedious but the long-term payoff is worth it.