New Zealand is a small country with a big gambling and casino scene. 5 traditional land-based casinos operate in New Zealand, and they each pay a percentage of their profits back to the community. So New Zealanders don’t even have to feel guilty for gambling – there’s a social benefit to it.
In fact, the revenue from the industry has been growing consistently since its inception in 1984.
New Zealand residents can also find plenty of online casinos which are happy to take their action.
This page provides details about what kinds of gambling are (and are not) allowed in New Zealand, as well as an overview of the casinos operating in New Zealand.
Also, you’ll find a table below listing New Zealand friendly casinos operating online along with important details about each property:
Best Online Casino NZ 2020
What Kinds of Gambling Are and Are Not Allowed in New Zealand
New Zealand is a casino-friendly country, but this doesn’t mean every type of gambling is allowed. It’s not a free-for-all.
For example, running a sports book of any kind has been illegal in New Zealand for 100 years. You can, though, bet on horse races.
Lotteries, including both lotto and scratch off tickets, are government run and wildly popular.
But no form of gambling is more popular in New Zealand than slot machines – even though they don’t call them that. Just like Australians, New Zealanders call slot machines “pokies,” which is short for “poker machines.”
You’ll find almost 20,000 pokies throughout New Zealand.
They also love traditional casino table games like blackjack, craps, and roulette.
Online Casinos in New Zealand
New Zealand has strict regulations related to casinos and gambling throughout the country, but these regulations are aimed at casinos rather than players. If you’re of the legal gambling age, there’s nothing illegal about gambling at an online casino that accepts real money players from New Zealand.
Their main goal is to avoid having a bunch of sketchy online casinos operating on New Zealand soil and targeting New Zealand gamblers.
But many offshore casinos accepting New Zealand gamblers offer fair games, fast payouts, and excellent customer service. You have no reason to avoid playing at reputable casinos if you’re living in New Zealand.
In fact, you should learn how to find reputable internet casinos if you’re interested in that. If you’re from New Zealand, the first thing you should look for is whether they accept New Zealand Dollars – the local currency. Any offshore casino that’s serious about your business should be eager to accept the currency from your locale.
You should also pay attention to recommendations from legitimate casino information portals like this one. Sites like this have vetted the casinos they list before suggesting them to their readers, so you’re better off going with a recommendation from a site like this than you are just picking a random casino using Bing or Google.
Now, information about the traditional, land-based casinos in New Zealand:
Christchurch Casino holds the distinction of being the first and oldest New Zealand casino. They opened in 1994. It’s a moderately large property with almost 44,000 square feet.
They offer 500 different pokies and almost 3 dozen table games. Among their table games, they offer $2 blackjack on the weekends.
Many of their table games are older, traditional games that you might not see as often in a “modern” casino environment like Las Vegas. For example, the money wheel is still a popular game at Christchurch Casino. They also offer Tai Sai.
They also have 3 restaurants and 2 bars. Besides the casino games available, Christchurch Casino also hosts poker games in their cardroom, and they’re the official hosts of the New Zealand Poker Championships.
They don’t allow anyone 19 years old or younger to enter the casino. They’re open 24 hours a day on the weekends, but only from 11am to 3am during the week.
Aspinall Limited used to own a large percentage of Christchurch Casino, but they sold their share to SkyCity Entertainment Group in 2004.
The Dunedin Casino is also an older property, having opened in 1999. You’ll find the property in The Exchange, which is south of the city centre. Dunedin Casino wasn’t always a casino; it was originally a Victorian hotel called The Grand Hotel.
Dunedin Casino offers most of the traditional casino games you’d expect. They deal blackjack from 6 to 8 decks. They offer American roulette, too – the game with a 0 and a 00. Baccarat is popular among high rollers at Dunedin Casino, too.
Caribbean Stud Poker is another card game available at Dunedin Casino.
Their biggest attraction is the selection of 180+ pokies, which are available in denominations from a penny up to $1.
They also have a cardroom where they host regular Texas holdem poker games.
Dunedin Casino has 2 restaurants available:
- Grand Bar and Café
- Room 118
Room 118 is a lounge and tapas bar. Grand Bar and Café offers contemporary cuisine from 11am to 11pm.
Having opened in 1996, SkyCity Auckland is the 2nd oldest casino in New Zealand and the only casino still operating in Auckland. It’s located in the business district and offers a complete event centre as well as all the casino amenities you’d expect.
The casino features over 2100 pokies and over 100 table games, including the almost-ubiquitous blackjack and roulette games. SkyCity Auckland has a separate VIP section with both pokies and table games with higher stakes action.
SkyCity Auckland also caters to a large Asian gambling audience, which they market to directly.
The property also has a theatre that seats an audience of 700. The convention centre is huge and able to host 3500 people. The hotel has a dozen different bars and restaurants to choose from.
The casino is home to 2 hotels:
- SkyCity Hotel, which has 323 rooms and is rated 4 stars.
- SkyCity Grand Hotel, which has 316 rooms and is rated 5 stars.
SkyCity Grand offers all the amenities you’d expect from a luxury property, including deluxe rooms, 24-hour room service, a fitness center with personal trainers, and babysitting services.
The casino is open 24/7.
The table games available there include the usual suspects: baccarat, blackjack, roulette, and Ultimate Texas Holdem. They also offer some more unusual games, like Lunar Poker and Snake Eyes.
SkyCity Hamilton is open 24/7 and offers over 330 pokies, over 23 table games, live entertainment, and multiple bars and restaurants.
The table games available at SkyCity Hamilton include baccarat, blackjack, Caribbean Stud Poker, Money Wheel, Rapid Baccarat, Rapid Roulette, roulette, and Three Card Poker.
They offer 2 areas for high rollers. The first is Salon 8, which is where you can play the high stakes table games. The 2nd is Diamond Lounge, which is where you’ll find the high-denomination pokies.
The following restaurants are also available:
- The Local Taphouse
- Sammies and Stuff
- Marble Room
- Vue Bar + Number 8 Bar
- Zone Sports Bar
The Local Taphouse offers local craft beers and ciders. They also have a selection of excellent “piub grub” type meals.
Sammies and Stuff serves fresh sandwiches featuring local ingredients.
EATBurger, of course, is the local burger joint.
Marble Room is a sophisticated, upscale bar with excellent mixologists. This is where you visit if you want a great martini.
Vue Bar and Number 8 Bar are both watering holes located near the main casino gaming floor.
Zone Sports Bar boasts of the biggest screen in town for watching sporting events. If you’re a sports fan, it’s not to be missed.
SkyCity actually owns 2 casinos in Queenstown, but they fall under the same corporate umbrella, so they only have a single listing on this page.
SkyCity Queenstown Casino operates from 11am to 3am daily. They offer the same variety of casino games, bars and restaurants, and other amenities that you’d expect from any SkyCity casino in New Zealand.
Relatively speaking, though, Queenstown Casino is a smaller property. They offer a smattering of table games, including blackjack, Caribbean Stud Poker, Midi Baccarat, and roulette. They also offer over 86 different pokies to choose from.
Their other casino, SkyCity Wharf Casino, offers more of a boutique gambling environment. They don’t open until 4pm every day. They have views of the lake, 70 different pokies to choose from, and half a dozen table games.
Whether you choose to gamble at casinos online or in the traditional brick and mortar casinos, you’ll find plenty of casino gambling action in New Zealand.