New Regulations Planned For NZ Pokies

by Noah Adams
New Regulations Planned For NZ Pokies
Published: 13/02/2023
Reading: 5 minutes

The New Zealand government has recently made strides to reduce the harm of problem gambling throughout the country, with a large focus on NZ pokies. It's well known that like many other nations, there are Kiwis that love the thrill of placing a bet.

Yet, many people are crossing the line from betting for entertainment to problem gambling. In an effort to create a safe gambling atmosphere, the government has some changes planned for pokie regulations.

Kiwis don't have to worry. They will still be able to play their favourite games at the casino. The new regulations won't take away popular casino games. However, they may notice some changes to the layout when they visit the casino.

History of NZ Pokies Regulations

Pokie machines were first introduced to New Zealand in 1987 and became legal in 1989. Throughout the late 1980s into the 1990s, people could find pokie games and poker machines at casinos and other licensed venues.

By 2003, the New Zealand Gambling Act was introduced. This meant that the Department of Internal Affairs controlled all gambling. Their goal was to create a system in which money used on slot machines will go towards improving the community.

In 2009, a new rule was passed for casinos.

All pokie machines were required to display player information. The machines would display how long the gambler had been playing, how much money they have lost, and encourage a cool-off period. Before this information was displayed, gamblers were getting carried away and losing track of how much they were spending on slot machines.

The Department of Internal Affairs passed this regulation with the belief that it would prevent players from chasing their losses, especially when they're playing progressive pokies. Gamblers can spin through several pokie games in a short amount of time, which puts them at a higher risk for player losses than other casino games.

What Regulations Are Coming?

New regulations for pokie games are being introduced to New Zealand in 2023 with the modus operandi of these new regulations a swing at creating a safer gambling atmosphere. This means more thorough training for the staff and changes to casino layouts.

Punters that play pokies are at a higher risk of developing a gambling problem, especially when face-to-face with promotions such as free spins and progressive jackpots.

New Rules at Venues

That is why casinos and other establishments in New Zealand with slot machines will have to enforce new rules. There will be changes to the layout of these venues to make the pokie machines less visible to patrons. This way, gamblers won't spend real money on machines out of convenience.

Where the pokie machines and ATM machines are located will be very important to the new casino regulations. They need to be less visible to the patrons while also being located in a spot where employees can keep an eye on them.

Employee Training

Stricter employee training will also be mandatory. The goal is to make sure every employee understands how to spot the signs of problem gambling.

The majority of problem gamblers are regular patrons that employees often see on a weekly basis. It’s common for the casino staff to know these patrons by their first names.

Employees will be responsible for keeping an eye out on the habits of these patrons, especially the ones that frequently play pokies on the same machine. When the staff can step forward on problem gambling, they can make an impact on the patron's life.

Gambling addictions are well known to negatively affect a person’s finances, relationships, career, and lifestyle.

Pokies in New Zealand

Kiwis have a lot of fun playing pokies. But, these new regulations are put into place because many are crossing the line from fun to dangerous.

On average, $978 million is lost annually on slot games in New Zealand each year. Since that number continues to rise, it's more important than ever before for casinos and venues to enforce new regulations.

There are 6 major casinos in New Zealand. Between all 6 of these locations, there are over 3,000 pokie machines. There are several licensed bars, clubs, and other venues that provide slot machines to their patrons as well. Throughout these venues, there are nearly 15,000 slot machines.

Online Pokies

This doesn't even scratch the surface of how many online pokies are available to New Zealand gamblers.

While there are no online pokies in NZ, players still have access to tons of casinos and hundreds of thousands of online slot games from different countries. There are also new online slot games being released frequently and more new casino services launching.

It is now easier than ever to access the best online pokies, which grants an endless stream of opportunities for Kiwis to play. Online pokies NZ also come with many promotions and incentives, which make it a breeze to win online pokies for punters in New Zealand.

casino games

Will Kiwis Move to Play Online Pokies?

While regulations are set to be enforced among casinos and venues with slot machines throughout New Zealand, people are wondering how this will affect online pokies. Kiwis will still be able to play online casino games at their own risk.

These rules will not affect how New Zealand online pokies operate. There are currently only two online gambling industry bodies allowed to operate online in New Zealand, Lotto NZ and New Zealand Racing Board (TAB).

However, it's unlikely that all casino patrons with a gambling problem will move to online slots instead. This is mainly because they are 2 different gambling experiences. Patrons of land-based casinos prefer the experience of sitting down at a licensed venue and slapping pokie games, with access to beverages and refreshments.

They enjoy the atmosphere, sophisticated decorations, and the social aspect of being at the casino. It's hard to replicate a similar vibe when they play real money online pokies.

That being said, there is still a risk of problem gambling taking place over online slot machines.

Wondering why there won't be any changes to popular online pokies in NZ?

When the New Zealand Gambling Act 2003 was introduced, it prohibited online casinos from operating in New Zealand. However, New Zealand residents were still allowed to gamble online legally as long as the casino service was operating from a different location.

Playing free online pokies puts gamblers at a higher risk of developing a problem because of how convenient they are. People can access online pokies games directly from their mobile devices or computer without having to leave their houses.

Within seconds, they can transfer real money to their casino account and start playing online pokies games.

While these new regulations won't affect online pokies, the New Zealand government has still put efforts forward towards helping gamblers navigate through online pokies casinos safely.

For example, Safer Gambling is a non-profit that provides advice and warns NZ gamblers of the traps they could fall into playing online pokies. Gamblers do need to keep themselves informed to avoid the risks of problematic gambling as the makeup of the industry continues to change.

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Author Noah Adams

Noah Adams has a Masters in journalism from the university of Canterbury. He has held job positions in various media companies in New Zealand such as Bauer Media Group, The New Zealand Herald and TVNZ. Noah has for the past yea... Read more about the author

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Last updated: February 22, 2023