Over the past decade the gambling expenditure in New Zealand has risen exponentially. The market has grown from $1.9 billion New Zealand dollars in 2011 to over $2.4 billion dollars.
One reason for this is the relaxed attitudes towards gambling in the country and the legislation put in place by the NZ government. The Gambling Act 2003 sets out what types of gambling is allowed and what is currently prohibited, allowed activities are classified under four categories.
Class 1 gambling can only be conducted by individuals and has a maximum prize of $500. In Class 2 gambling, the winnings must have a total value between $500 and $5,000 and can only be conducted by approved societies.
There is then Class 3 and Class 4 gambling that usually refers to gaming machines such as pokies. These activities can only be conducted with a valid license in place.
Online or ‘remote’ gambling is allowed when players use gambling sites that are located overseas, there are a vast number of casino sites in NZ from New Zealanders to choose from. The online purchasing of lottery tickets with New Zealand is also legal.
While gambling restrictions in New Zealand may be considered more prohibitive than the United Kingdom and some European countries, they are less prohibitive than the rules in many states within North America.
Some forms of gambling are more popular than others in the country, for example the amount spent on sports betting is increasing rapidly while greyhound racing seems to be fading out. Betting on horse racing has always been popular across Australia and New Zealand and this industry continues to grow.
New Zealand as a nation is well known for its love of sport, around $600 million NZ dollars is spent on sports betting each year. Due to advancements in technology and the availability of smartphones, tablets and computers, most betting now takes place online.
The most popular sports for New Zealanders to bet on include basketball, soccer and tennis. Both rugby union and cricket are decreasing in popularity, with many unimpressed by the complex rules and controversial referee decision making in rugby union in NZ in recent years.
What about casino gambling?
The growing upward trend for casino gaming is also strong, with the industry now said to be worth more than $4.5 billion. Around half of the casinos in the country are owned by SkyCity Entertainment Group.
Gaming machines such as pokies, also known as slot machines, remain one of the favourites for New Zealanders. These pokies are not just found in casinos, you can also locate them in pubs and clubs.
Other popular games include poker, blackjack, baccarat and roulette. These games are usually played inside the country’s casino venues.
While land-based casino venues are still popular, many players now prefer to play casino games online. One reason for this is the amount of choice in games and game operators on the internet.
Another reason that online casinos continue to thrive in 2022 is the convenience they offer, with players now able to enjoy their favorite games from their sofas at home.
With many people spending more time at home, they seek more entertainment online. This includes streaming television series as well as online gaming and gambling.
The availability of welcome offers and bonuses on online casino and pokie sites are another factor in their growing popularity in 2022. Given that it is such a competitive market, operators use generous offers to attract new players and encourage them to make deposits into their accounts.
What is in store for the future of the gambling market in New Zealand?
The future is looking very positive for the gambling industry in New Zealand. Certain types of gambling such as playing on pokies is a popular aspect of the country’s culture that is unlikely to change anytime soon.
Online gambling is set to continue to flourish, with more players enjoying the convenience, ease of accessibility and range of gaming choice available on the internet. As technology advances, we can expect that gambling experience will improve even further.
For example, the further development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology will create more personalized experiences for players. AI is being used not only in the development of customer service chatbots but also to improve the games themselves with new features.
Futurist tech-driven gaming opportunities will also be more widely available in 2022 and beyond. One example is virtual reality casinos that create immersive experiences for players, they offer the convenience of being remote by the social experience and interactivity of land-based casino gaming.
With availability growing and prices of VR headsets coming down, more people will be able to try out this type of casino experience.
Online and VR casinos are now beginning to reach a far bigger audience, and while they will never fully replace land-based venues, the growth of these markets will continue to outpace traditional casino gambling in the years ahead.