A Look at New Zealand’s Thriving Casino Industry

Gross gaming revenues in New Zealand on the rise with more and more gamers turning to online casino gaming activities.

What is Happening to the Casino Industry in New Zealand?

New Zealand has a population of over five million people as estimated in 2020. One of the most remote countries in the world is famous for its natural landmarks that attract millions of tourists yearly. Rugged mountains, volcanic plateaus, forests, spectacular hillsides, and picturesque plains among other natural wonders make New Zealand one of the most popular tourist spots in the world. In addition, New Zealand is a wonderful place for individuals looking for awesome online and land-based casino gaming activities.

Gambling activities in the country are not legal unless they are regulated, monitored, authorized, and licensed by the main piece of legislation, the Gambling Act that has been in force since 2003. Under this main piece of legislation, gambling activities are divided into four different classes. Gambling activities of Class 1 cannot offer prizes worth over $500. Gambling activities that are considered as Class 2 can offer prizes worth between $500 and $5,000. Class 3 and Class 4 gambling activities cannot be conducted without valid licenses and can have prizes bigger than $5,000.

The main institution in the country tasked with keeping gambling activities under control is the Department of Internal Affairs. Then, there are smaller organizations active in the country that have been assigned different activities with one of them being the New Zealand Gambling Commission. The New Zealand Gambling Commission was established in 2003 under the Gambling Act.

This independent government body is responsible for reviewing, determining, and approving applications for gaming operators’ licenses. The same organization is responsible for renewing licenses, revoking license conditions, as well as combating problem gambling issues alongside a wide range of other responsibilities and functions.

The Rise of Online Casino Gambling in New Zealand

As reported by Harrison Newton, the casino industry in New Zealand is shifting online. Born in 1979, Harrison Newton is editor and co-founder of bestcasinosites.net who has been involved in the industry for quite some time. Specialized in creating comprehensive casino reviews, Harrison Newton in one of his articles written on the thriving New Zealand iGaming industry said:

“There is no shortage of casino operators that accept players in New Zealand. Some of them fall in the category of the best online casinos in the world, speaking volumes of their quality.”

This is most certainly true with all of the biggest iGaming companies in the world serving Kiwi gamers.

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According to the latest reports, the gaming industry in the country saw a major $121 million rise in profits in the past twelve months and this represents an annual increase of 42%. In 2020, the industry generated over $324 million in revenues. Expenditure on gambling activities in the country from 2011 to 2018 has been increasing steadily with rising overall profits for casino gaming activities.


Activity 2015/2016 2016/2017 2017/2018 2018/2019 2019/2020
TAB Racing Board $342 $338  $350  $332 $315
Lotteries $437  $555  $561  $530 $631
Gaming machines (outside casinos) $843  $870  $895  $924 $802
Casinos  $586  $572  $578  $616 $504
TOTAL $2,209  $2,334  $2,383  $2,402 $2,252


Land-Based Casinos in New Zealand

Gambling activities have a long and rich history in the country. Back in the nineteenth century, New Zealanders placed wagers on sports competitions and played cards for real money. However, horse racing was the most popular gambling form back in the day with the very first horse racing competition held in 1835 in the Bay of Islands. By the end of the nineteenth century, certain restrictions regarding gaming activities in the country were in place, and bookmakers were not allowed to cover horse racing competitions anymore.

Until the late 1980s, gambling activities in New Zealand mostly consisted of lotteries. The 80s brought many changes. Weekly lotto draws were introduced back in 1987 and this sparked an amazing public interest. By the early 2000x, almost seventy percent of the entire country’s population played and watched daily lotto draws. Finally, in 1988 pokies or slot machines were made legal at hotels and sports clubs while one year later, New Zealand approved land-based casinos. Today, there are several land-based casinos operational in New Zealand with the top five:

  • Dunedin Casino
  • Christchurch Casino
  • Skycity Auckland
  • Skycity Hamilton
  • Skycity Queenstown
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The Grand Casino located in Dunedin opened its doors over twenty years ago in 1999. The casino is situated in the Southern Hotel. The Grand Casino as the venue was named upon opening has a decent-sized gaming floor with over one hundred and eighty pokies and all of the most popular card and table games. In addition, visitors enjoy other amenities including the Grand Bar and Café and the Room 118 Lounged and Tapas Bar.

Another iconic land-based casino in New Zealand is the Christchurch Casino in the city of Christchurch. This was the very first casino to open its doors in the country as it has been operational since 1994. Located at 30 Victoria Street, the casino is owned by Premier Hotels Limited, Skyline Enterprises, Southern Equities Limited, and Queenstown Tourist Co Limited. Its visitors have thirty-four table and over five hundred slot games at their disposal.

The Skycity Auckland entertainment complex opened its doors in 1996. It is owned and operated by Skycity Entertainment Group that also owns and operated the Skycity Hamilton, Skycity Queenstown, and Skycity Wharf Casino complexes. The Skycity Auckland is the only land-based casino in the city and boasts a selection of over one thousand and six hundred gambling machines and over one hundred gaming tables.

Equally popular is the Skycity Hamilton. This venue has been operational since 2003. It has twenty-three table games and over three hundred slot machines alongside other amenities including a bar and restaurant with popular musicians performing here almost every weekend. The Skycity Queenstown has been operational since December 2000. Owned and operated by Skycity Entertainment Group, the venue’s gaming floor has eighty-six gaming machines and twelve gaming table with four of these located in its VIP room.

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Online Casinos in New Zealand

Online casinos operational in New Zealand have been thriving for quite some time and Kiwi gamers have an excellent variety of options to choose from at their disposal with many renowned international iGaming brands operating here. Moreover, there is no shortage of regulated, fully licensed online casinos in New Zealand with the most successful of them offering hundreds of online casino games including pokies, classic table games, video poker, and poker, and even live dealer casino games. With the global pandemic seriously limiting travel and leisure options, online casinos came as salvation to many.

The very best online casinos operational in New Zealand are also one hundred percent safe as they comply with the strictest safety and privacy measures that all regulated and licensed New Zealand online casinos must comply with. New Zealand online casinos are also quite generous with their bonuses and promotions with Kiwi players being able to benefit from welcome bonuses, regular free spins and reload bonuses, and sometimes no deposit bonuses.

The best New Zealand online casinos also boast excellent banking services with multiple currencies accepted including the New Zealand dollar. Kiwi gamers can also use a variety of deposit and withdrawal options such as PaySafe Card, Visa, MasterCard, PayPal, Skrill, Neteller, ClickandBuy, ClickandPay, Ukash, and even more. Some of the most prominent iGaming companies offering online casino gaming activities to Kiwi gamers are:

  • LeoVegas Gaming Plc (LeoVegas)
  • Casumo Services Limited (Casumo)
  • WHG Limited (William Hill)
  • Royal Panda Limited (Royal Panda)
  • Marketplay LTD (Mr. Play)
  • Betway Limited Casinos (Betway)
  • Bayton Limited Casinos (JackpotCity)
  • White Hat Gaming Limited (Dream Vegas)
  • Hollycorn N.V. Casinos (Casino Rocket)
  • Green Feather Online Limited (Boo Casinos)

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