Teams compete in the Six Invitational, an esports event of Rainbow Six Siege, at Place Bell in Laval on Sunday, Feb. 16, 2020. (Morgane Mousse/courtesy Six Invitational)

This year, the New Zealand Esports Federation (NZESF) was the 21st country to gain its official title, from Sports New Zealand, as the national sporting organization for esports. Sport New Zealand sent a confirmation letter to NZESF on 20th March 2020 to award their new status.

With NZESF’s new status as the governing body of esports in New Zealand, the country can expect to experience numerous positive changes.


As a result of NZESF’s achievement, they shall provide educational opportunities on the subject of eSports, granting gaming newbies the chance to get involved, while also supplying educational resources and support to professional gamers. Furthermore, there will be an increase in exciting employment opportunities in the esports realm for the people of New Zealand.

Moreover, NZESF now has specific guidelines to work by concerning visas, tax statuses, and managing the distribution of money between players. Other factors that shall influence the operation of NZESF include an improved framework and more funding opportunities—allowing New Zealand’s National Sporting Organisation for eSports to continue embracing the professional world of gaming.

The President of NZESF, Ben Lenihan, has reported he is thrilled with the Sports Organization decision to make NZESF the governing body of eSports in New Zealand. While he also appreciates it shall bring multiple opportunities to the country, plus an exciting new industry for the people of New Zealand to be a part of.

eSports viewership and popularity spikes during lockdown

As the NZESF gained its title, COVID-19 spread across the world, and New Zealand experienced alert level 4, pushing its residents into lockdown.

With more people remaining indoors and unable to participate in sports and other activities outside the home, numerous people spent much more time on the internet watching videos, reading content, and playing games. As a result, New Zealand’s esports industry witnessed a surge that amounted to a 90% to 100% increase in viewers.

Interestingly, despite COVID cases in New Zealand beginning to subside following March, viewership remained more or less the same.

According to Duane Mutu, co-founder of LetsPlay.Live, lockdown initiated a lot of newcomers to watch eSports that never had the opportunity to engage with it before.

While also attracting viewers, who were unable to watch traditional sporting events. Additionally, Duana Mutu is confident new viewers of New Zealand’s eSporting events are here to stay. Mostly because new consoles such as PlayStation and Xbox, will keep players and viewers hooked.

Prime Minister embraces Twitch Stream with Broxh

As New Zealand’s interest in eSports grew over lockdown, streamers benefited from the increase in viewers and subs on channels like Twitch.

This was the case of Twitch streamer Brohx. As a mark of Twitch’s success in New Zealand, Broxh’s stream grew a prolific following as viewers watched him carve wood and interact with his audience. Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand’s prime minister, made a guest appearance on Broxh’s stream where they shared a humble conversation about Twitch, live streaming, and Broxhs’ work.

iGaming industry growth in New Zealand

It appears esports isn’t the only sector within iGaming growing in New Zealand. With online gambling ability to draw in billions worldwide, New Zealand has heavily invested in this sector also.

The New Zealand Gambling Commission revealed 80% of Kiwis gamble. In 2013, a cool NZD 2 billion, was splashed on gambling platforms in NZ and offshore by New Zealanders. Let’s take a look at some insight into why online casinos in New Zealand are taking off.

Perhaps the biggest reason online casinos are so appealing is that many sites are renowned for providing newcomers with incentives and offers to begin playing. For instance, secure and trustworthy websites like Dream Vegas, are offering a 200% welcome bonus up to NZ$2500, and 50 free spins to new players. Equally, generous offers from Royal Panda, Casimba and more, make gambling online irresistible to people in New Zealand, and across the world.

Most of us love to have options when it comes to gaming. In terms of variety, New Zealand has legalized and regulated loads of online casino sites, which gives access to its residents to play a plethora of games. Online casino sites also offer multiple payment methods to its players. From instant payment methods to PayPal and POLi, paying to play online is a lot easier to do.

Another great benefit is no need to pay tax. That’s right, winnings accrued online by New Zealanders is not subject to Income Tax laws. Meaning players can win money and keep every dollar for themselves. And of course, security is mainly important. Reputable, regulated online casinos use premium security software to protect players’ digital identities while they pay and play online. Players can check whether a site is licensed, by viewing their certificates which should be situated at the bottom of the sites page.

From eSports to online casinos: New Zealand embraces iGaming industry

New Zealand continues to embrace eSports and online gaming by making an effort to regulate, support and invest in these industries. In turn, creating gaming industries that provide fair gaming opportunities that are safe and secure to use.

As New Zealand’s online gaming industry flourishes, there shall be an increase in educational and employment opportunities for all, to benefit the economy.

Gaming continues to have a significant impact on the world. A Gaming Market report revealed in 2019 the global market was worth US$151.55 billion. By 2025 its value is expected to rise to US$256.97 billion.

With countries such as New Zealand opting to embrace gaming industries such as eSports and online casinos, the prediction of a US$100 billion increase in 2025 is possible, and perhaps even undervalued.

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