New Zealand is a fantastic country with spectacular scenery, and if you decide to visit, you will probably spend a lot of time in the great outdoors. However, after spending all day with the wind in your hair, you might want to scrub up, dress smart and enjoy an indulgent night out at a great restaurant or a luxury casino – or both. But when it comes to gambling, New Zealand hardly has the reputation of Las Vegas, Monaco or Macau. So, what are the options when it comes to casino gaming in the Pacific island country?
Casino options in New Zealand
Most of New Zealand’s gambling operations are run by the state with a proportion of profits returned to the local communities. There are only half a dozen land-based casinos in the whole country. Two are based in Queenstown, with one each in Dunedin, Auckland, Christchurch and Hamilton. The Christchurch casino was the first to open (in 1994) and remains the most prestigious. It hosts many events including the New Zealand Poker Championships. A Gambling Act was passed in 2003 to prevent any further casinos from being opened in the country, so don’t expect any new establishments to appear anytime soon!
Local residents who do not live near a casino can play at one of the many online casinos that welcome players from New Zealand. Some offer bonuses that are only available for NZ-players, with the most popular promotions including free spins offers on “pokies”, the local name for slot machines. But for more physical casino opportunities, you’ll have to cast your eye out to sea.
Casinos on cruise ships
If you are heading to New Zealand on a cruise ship from Australia or elsewhere, you can take advantage of the casino facilities on board. Well-known cruise providers such as Princess offer Vegas-style gaming on board with a range of table games and slot machines available. Many cruise operators even arrange tournaments for passengers to take part in during their cruise. It should be noted that casinos on cruise ships are only open while the vessel is still at sea, so you will not be able to wager once the ship is in port.
A cruise ship is a great way to get close to the country’s incredible landscapes such as Fiordland National Park. You can also visit amazing sites such as the underground caves outside Auckland while movie buffs can visit many of the locations used in the filming of native filmmaker Peter Jackson’s “The Lord of the Rings” movie trilogy.
While it is not known as a gambling destination, those who like to spend a few hours testing their luck in a casino on their vacation can still do so when visiting New Zealand. The options may be limited, but the casinos in New Zealand are extremely well-appointed and offer a fantastic gaming experience to rival some more famous locations.