Click here to exit preview mode.

Gaming vs gambling

The line between gaming and online gambling is definitely blurry! "Free-to-play" games, apps and websites offering simulated gambling can be entertaining, but despite their name they could still cost you time and money.

Safer Gambling Aotearoa

Parents should be watchful

Kids who are playing games online are not immune from gambling harm, so parents should keep a watchful eye on the games their children are playing.

Tips for parents and teachers

  • Be wary of ads that appear in the apps your children are using. These ads may click through to gambling apps.
  • Turn off the App or Play Store to limit apps accessed by choice or accident.
  • Turn off in-app purchases option so your child can’t access more credits.
  • Show interest in the child’s use of apps and play together.


  1. Kim, H.S., Hollingshead, S., Wohl, M.J.A., (2016). Journal of Gambling Studies Who Spends Money To Play for Free? Identifying Who Makes Micro-Transactions on Social Casino Games (and Why). University of Calgary. Carleton University.
  2. Wells, N. (2015). The shocking truth about mobile gaming. CNBC. Retrieved from:
  3. Victoria Responsible Gambling Foundation,(2013). The Responsible Gambling Foundation. Retrieved from:

Related information

Check out these other pages for safer gambling support and guidance.

Guide to casino games

Casinos are built to be exciting and entertaining, but each casino game is designed so players are disadvantaged. Get some tips on how to stay safe.

Step inside a casino and the atmosphere tingles with excitement. While it’s supposed to be a form of entertainment, it can become harmful. You’re likely to spend more than you win, so it should never be counted on as a way to make money.

Find out more

How does the Lotto draw work?

Many New Zealanders get lured into daydreams, but the odds of winning lotto are against us. Learn more about the reality, in numbers.

Before you check your Lotto results, it's easy to daydream about extended holidays and a sports car for every member of the whānau. But what are your true odds of winning Lotto first division or Powerball?

Find out more