The Gambling Act of 2003 mandated that gambling in New Zealand is not prohibited as long as it is run through an offshore website, and the New Zealand Racing Board is the only onshore sports betting provider. Choosing a legitimate licensed online casino that meets your needs can seem like a challenge, but it is actually fairly easy once you know what to look for.
The first thing you should look for is that the gambling site is under the regulation of a major authority. Some of the largest bodies are the United Kingdom Gambling Commission who oversees over 980 sites, the Malta Gaming Authority who regulates over 600 sites, and Curacao eGaming who has over 520 sites. Others you may come across are the Gibraltar Gambling Commission and the Alderney Gambling Control Commission.
These authorities are responsible for ensuring fair play and business practices for the casinos under them. They can fine and suspend/revoke the license of any site that engages in shady activities, and many sites have faced sanctions and been blacklisted. Gambling sites owned by Affactive Group, for example, were licensed by Curacao eGaming, but several have since been blacklisted for a multitude of violations.
One of the most common dubious practices for online gambling sites is slow cash out time. One site paid out only $500 per week when its customers would make a withdrawal, even when the winnings were in the tens of thousands. Other underhanded practices include voiding winnings or refusing to pay jackpots, skimming money off the top of players' accounts or winnings, and rigging the random number generators to increase the house's cut.
In order to obtain a license, an operator must usually base some or all of its operation in an existing online gaming jurisdiction. From there the operator can apply with the authority of that jurisdiction after proving that it follows all of the rules and regulations set by that authority. Any perceived violations of those regulations can be reported, and the authority will investigate and act accordingly.
Once you verify that a casino is licensed under a proper regulatory body, there are other factors that you should consider as well before making your choice. One of the biggest things to look for is game selection. A site that uses several different software developers will have a much larger selection of slot games, table games, live dealer games, etc. than one that only uses a single provider. A larger variety means a greater chance that they will have games to suit your playing style.
Another thing to consider are the available bonuses and reward programs. A site that has strong deposit and no deposit bonuses will make your money go a lot farther than one that does not, giving you more chances to play and win. There are other things to research like withdrawal times and customer support presence, but as long as you start with a properly licensed operator you will most likely have a good gaming experience.