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Starting Your Online Pokies Adventure? Here’s What You Need to Do If You’re a Beginner.

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The rest of the world calls them slots or fruit machines. But every true Kiwi knows them by another name: pokies. They’re hugely popular in New Zealand, comprising almost 50% of what Kiwis spend on gambling. And tuning it at near $7 billion on average, it’s no small amount.

Embarking on your online pokies adventure and don’t know where to start? In this quickfire guide, we’ll give you a history of gambling in New Zealand, the rise of pokies, and how you can get involved.

The History of Gambling and Pokies in NZ

Gambling has been part and parcel of the Kiwi way of life since the 19th century. It was common for people to place bets on anything from card games to athletic tournaments and competitions.

However, neither of these could hold a candle to the most popular gambling activity of all: betting on horse racing. Ever since the Bay of Islands held the first race all the way back in 1835, betting on the races has been ubiquitous throughout the country.

Of course, gambling was met with some opposition early on, primarily from the religious elite. Once gambling grew beyond what they deemed acceptable, restrictions of various forms were introduced. For example, in the early 20th century bookies were not even allowed to be present at horse races.

Restrictions were such that until the 80s, gambling was generally confined to the various lotteries and the horses. These industries were managed or regulated by the state. In 1950, for example, horse race betting was no longer in the private sector, but taken over by TAB (the state-run Totalisator Agency Board).

The 80s, however, was a new dawn for the gambling industry. The Labor government pushed a policy of deregulation across the board, positively impacting the gambling landscape. By 1989, the almighty pokie machine was finally allowed in casinos. Fast forward to 2003 and pokies could be found in six major casinos in New Zealand: Christchurch, Dunedin, Auckland, Hamilton, and Queenstown (x2).

Pokies had well and truly landed in New Zealand.

Online Pokies in New Zealand

Pokie machines had a very quick rise to the top. They’re now sitting pretty as the most frequently played games in any kind of casino: we’re talking virtual, land-based, and even the mobile variety. One example is best online pokies Australia real money, which offers great incentives.

We’re also talking online pokies NZ edition here. These are seriously popular and pack a serious punch. While the early years featured the classic three-reel with your run-of-the-mill fruits, the modern Kiwi pokie offers much more than that:

Security: Online casinos in New Zealand are some of the most secure on the planet. You see, Kiwi gambling websites are regulated and must obtain a license from the government before operating. This comes with a bunch of requirements, including the guarantee that games are fair and that your banking information is safe. New Zealand also has a Gambling Commission to protect your interests. Of course, you still need to do your due diligence on the individual casino before making a deposit.

Choice: Because online pokies and gambling, in general, are so popular in New Zealand, the number of casinos available is numerous. You can pick the one you like best and put a cheeky wager on your favorite pokie!

Variety: You won’t just have ample choice with casinos, but you’ll also be inundated with loads of different pokie machines. We’re talking about your old school fruit machines (for those of you with a penchant for nostalgic adventures), bonus game pokies, and those offering absolutely huge jackpot prizes.

Pokies: How Does it All Work?

We’re pretty sure you know what pokies are, but in case you’re a casino novice (which is totally fine by the way!): it is essentially a gambling machine that runs on chance. You press a button (or, like in the old days, pull a lever) and reels spin to activate the game.

Once the game is activated, you’re looking for a combination of colors, shapes, symbols, you name it. The game can also trigger what’s colloquially called a ‘bonus’ game, which is relatively rare. This usually gives you a relatively big prize, depending on how much you’re playing per game. These bonus games are quite fun, with modern versions having extensive animations and some even have storylines.

Of course, what every single player out there is really hoping for is the jackpot. Not every pokie has one, so make sure you figure this out before you start playing. The progressive jackpot is particularly tasty, as the prize builds up the more people play. These can literally pay out millions of dollars. Those that don’t offer jackpots tend to pay out more on bonus rounds, and they also happen more frequently to compensate.

New Zealand: The Full Pokie Experience

In short, New Zealand offers the ultimate pokie experience. You have the backing of the government, which gives you that fuzzy secure feeling; the games are safe and so is your money (spend it wisely!). You have the choice in both casinos and games, giving you a plethora of options no matter what you’re looking for. Whether you’re a beginner or a veteran, there’s plenty of fun to be had. Now get out there and pull those (virtual) pokie levers!