Casinos have been a popular form of entertainment in New Zealand, the first of which opened in Christchurch in 1994, and all reports show the industry to be expanding. Online casinos and their offline counterparts offer a wide range of games and activities, from the traditional, like poker and blackjack, to modern options like slot machines and electronic roulette. People flock to casinos both online and offline for a variety of reasons: the ease of access, the wide range of games and activities available, and the social atmosphere they provide.
Control on gambling in NZ was tightened in 2003 following the introduction of the Gambling Act in 2002, which received Royal assent the following year. Since then, physical casinos have been closely regulated by the Gambling Commission.
There are six offline casinos across the country and the law prohibits any further casinos from being built – the majority of them are operated by SkyCity. Queenstown has two small venues, Dunedin, Hamilton, and Christchurch have one but by far the largest brick and mortar casino in NZ is in Auckland.
In a country of five million people, those six premises represent a ratio of one casino to every 1.2 million residents. Compare these statistics to Nevada, USA which has one casino per every 4000 Nevada natives or one per every 130 thousand tourists.
Auckland is over three times larger, in terms of population, than the capital of Wellington and is also the most dependent on tourism with almost two million visitors arriving each year, so it makes sense for NZ’s flagship casino to be there. There are an impressive 150 tables at SkyCity Auckland, 2000 games terminals and it is also the only premises in the country to offer fully automated gaming machines, of which there are 240. In contrast, the Steamer Wharf location in Queenstown has a modest six tables and just 75 gaming machines.
One of the main reasons for the popularity of casinos in New Zealand is the ease of access. Many casinos in New Zealand are located in major cities and towns, making them accessible to a large portion of residents and tourists alike – New Zealand’s population is almost 90% urban.
Additionally, many casinos are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, making them a convenient option for people who have busy schedules. For those that don’t live near one of New Zealand’s casinos or simply prefer the added convenience of playing from the comfort of their own home while still enjoying all the excitement of the casino experience, there are online alternatives.
The Gambling Act 2003 was written on the eve of the online casino revolution and it was impossible for lawmakers at the time to foresee how the industry would change. For this reason, it remains illegal for third party providers to offer domestic online gambling services (apart from Lotto and the TAB – NZ’s sports betting service).
These laws are in urgent need of modernisation as many other countries – USA, Canada, the EU and Australia – have done over the last few years, primarily to regulate the games New Zealanders are already playing and ensure they are kept safe. Additionally, the tax revenue raised can be reinvested into providing support for gamers alongside other vital public services – money which, at present, is being surrendered to countries where the offshore casinos being used are based.
The NZ government insists there is work being done to update these laws to bring them more in line with the digital world in which we all now live. Thankfully, residents of New Zealand still have an impressive choice of best online casino nz at their fingertips which they can legally enjoy.
The proliferation of smartphones and high-speed broadband services have created a consumer’s market, rich in top quality gaming options for adults to find a service they enjoy. Digital casinos also provide new opportunities for software developers to expand on the classic casino games that have been well loved for centuries.
Without the mechanical limitations of physical machines, slot machine games can become fully immersive gaming experiences with much more in common with blockbuster video games than the fruit machines of yesteryear. These games are designed to appeal to a wide range of people, from those who are new to gambling to those who are more experienced.
The convenience of online casinos cannot be overstated – they are typically accessible 24/7, which is a big advantage over traditional casinos which may have limited opening hours, especially on public holidays. Another reason why more players are choosing to play at online casinos is due to the bonuses and promotions that these venues offer.
Many online casinos offer a wide range of bonuses and promotions, such as welcome gifts, free spins and loyalty rewards. These promotions can be a great way for players to increase their chances of winning and make their overall gambling experience more enjoyable.
The Future of NZ Casinos
Many casinos in New Zealand also offer other forms of entertainment like live music, comedy shows, and sports events, making them a popular destination for people looking for a night out. But the social aspect of casino gaming is not lost on the online versions. Developers have endeavoured to include chat features and live casino options to bring casino gamers together while using their services.
New Zealand is a growing casino arena, with an increasing number of both offline and online casino games available to players. The laws behind casino gaming in NZ are strict, with the government regulating both offline and online casinos to ensure that they are safe and fair for patrons. But with an eye on the future and potential development in the area we could see NZ casinos really make their mark on the world map. (ami.com)