Live poker is not gambling, a New Zealand court has ruled in a hearing on poker educational sites, the New Zealand Herald has reported.
District Court Judge David Harvey made the ruling after the Department of Internal Affairs claimed a program called Celebrity Joker Poker broke New Zealand laws by showing ads for Poker Stars and the Asia Pacific Poker Tour.
The department was referring specifically to the ban on ads promoting of online gambling.
However, they lost the case after Judge Harvey said: "The Nature of the material in the advertisements made it clear that what was being advertised was free websites that do not involve gambling."
He added that in any case ads for the tour were legal because the tournaments do not involve payments based on the outcome of the game, but rather involve "conducting a competition involving the game and play of poker."
As in many other countries, online gambling is only partly legalized in New Zealand. The New Zealand Lotteries Commission is authorized to offer lottery products and sports betting online, but other online gambling providers are prohibited from entering the market.
It is not illegal for New Zealanders to gamble with offshore gambling providers.