Before we get into ranking the best land-based casinos in New Zealand, we will explore the history of gambling in the ‘Land of the Long White Cloud’. We’ve also included an overview of the pros and cons of playing casino games on location, so prepare for an informative blog that could be of use when planning your next road trip to New Zealand.
History of Land-Based Casinos in NZ
The history of legal gambling in New Zealand can be dated as far back as the 1800s. Compared to Europe and the US, this is rather late. However, the gambling industry in the country has been thriving, so there is plenty to talk about. Let’s start with Harness Racing and betting on horses, which was the first form of gambling that became popular among Kiwis.
It was much later, in 1994, when New Zealand’s first official casino opened. However, slot machines, also known among New Zealanders as pokies, were already available since 1988. These beloved games of chance used to be enjoyed in bars, but as you can imagine, the gaming rules & regulations in NZ have changed a lot since these early days.
Nowadays, access to slots and table games is limited to licensed casinos, both online and on-location. In addition, a handful of land-based casinos have opened in New Zealand since, and their attention to customer service and game diversity has brought them international recognition. Tourists from all over the world, and New Zealanders alike, are drawn by the luxurious gambling experience and the desire to try their luck on the popular pokie machines and table games.
Best Land-Based Casinos in New Zealand – Luxury & Excitement
In this blog, we have briefly examined 5 of the best land-based casinos for NZ players. As you will notice, we’ve given each of them a rating which is based on several aspects, such as game collection, service, amenities and more. However, the ranking is not strict, so when deciding which NZ local casinos to explore further or visit, you should follow your preferences.
As we mentioned, each brick-and-mortar casino on this list has something special to offer. Located in Christchurch, Auckland, Dunedin, Hamilton and Queenstown, all these top destinations could be great stops for your next road trip across New Zealand. And if travelling Is not your thing, maybe the best online casinos in NZ could offer a similarly thrilling experience.
Christchurch Casino – Best Casino in New Zealand
Our number one pick for the best casino in New Zealand is actually the first casino ever opened in the country. Kiwis have probably heard of the historical Christchurch Casino before, but did you know that the casino is not only operational to this day but thriving? Keep reading to find out how it has remained a top gambling destination for over 20 years.
|🏨 Casino Name||Christchurch Casino|
|📍 Address||30 Victoria Street, Christchurch Central City, Christchurch 8013, New Zealand|
|🍹 Amenities||The Café, Monza Sportsbar, Valley Bar, Gaming Hall, VIP Gaming Lounge|
|🎶 Entertainment||Music Festivals, Concerts, Monza Quiz Night|
|🕑 Opening Hours||MON-WED: 12 p.m.-12 a.m.; THU-SUN: 12 p.m.-2 a.m.|
With over 450 slot machines, 30+ table games, several incredible restaurants and bars and live events, Christchurch Casino simply has it all. No matter if you’re a serious player looking for game diversity or someone who wants to be entertained, this land-based casino in New Zealand offers both. Despite being so historical, the casino has kept up with the times and offers modern luxurious amenities that attract young audiences.
SkyCity Auckland Casino – Breathtaking View & Numerous Games
Next, we have a land-based casino that is highly popular in New Zealand, and you will see it more than once on this list. This is because SkyCity is a casino chain with multiple locations, but the one in Auckland is by far the best. This is the gambling site with the largest amount of games, with around 2000 real-money slot games and more than 150 table games.
|🏨 Casino Name||SkyCity Auckland Casino|
|📍 Address||72 Victoria Street West, Auckland CBD, Auckland 1010, New Zealand|
|🍹 Amenities||Hotel, Theater, Fitness, Sky Tower, Event Hall, Restaurants & Bars|
|🎶 Entertainment||Music Festivals, Concerts, Diverse Show Entertainment, Stand-Up Comedy Shows|
|🕑 Opening Hours||24/7|
No matter if you’re looking for roulette, blackjack, poker or some other game, SkyCity Auckland Casino probably offers it. Furthermore, the modern-looking casino has bingo and Tai Sai, so the selection is diverse. And to top things off, the tall building that houses it provides some of the best views of the city and endless entertainment.
Dunedin Casino – Luxury, Style & High-Quality Service
Time to stir things up a bit with a land-based casino that will spoil New Zealand players. The first two locations on our list could both boast contemporary designs. However, Dunedin Casino mixes modern amenities with traditional luxury to make everyone feel like royalty. This top casino is known among the locals as the crown jewel of NZ.
|🏨 Casino Name||Dunedin Casino|
|📍 Address||118 High Street, Central Dunedin, Dunedin 9016, New Zealand|
|🍹 Amenities||Grand Bar & Restaurant, Gaming Halls, Event Hall|
|🎶 Entertainment||Concerts, Diverse Show Entertainment, Wine & Other Tastings, Exhibitions|
|🕑 Opening Hours||MON-THU: 12 p.m.-12 a.m; FRI-SAT: 12 p.m.-2 a.m.|
The biggest selling point of Dunedin Casino is the exquisite service and the classic luxury feel that the building itself gives out. The casino is the perfect place for social gatherings, wine tasting and other cultural events. However, it has 200 slot machines, several table games like Baccarat and Roulette and a huge bingo room. Therefore, it’s also a great destination for experienced gamblers.
Skycity Hamilton Casino – Top Live Entertainment
As we previously mentioned, SkyCity has more than one great casino in New Zealand, and the next one is in Hamilton. The town itself is a magnet for tourists because it’s surrounded by beautiful nature and has an incredible architecture. However, the Skycity Hamilton Casino is certainly the main attraction.
|🏨 Casino Name||Skycity Hamilton Casino|
|📍 Address||346 Victoria Street, Hamilton Central, Hamilton 3204, New Zealand|
|🍹 Amenities||EAT Burger, The Local Taphouse, Zone Sports Bar, Vue Bar, Number 8 Bar, Gaming Halls, VIP Gaming Hall, Event Hall, Conference Hall|
|🎶 Entertainment||Concerts, Quiz Night, Classes & Courses, Games & Escape Rooms, Bowling, Social Events & Gatherings|
|🕑 Opening Hours||MON-FRI: 10 a.m.-4 a.m.; SAT-SUN: 24 Hours|
The casino boasts a collection of over 300 slot games and 20+ table games. So, there are options when it comes to gambling. However, this is not the only reason why you should visit this land-based NZ casino. Skycity Hamilton Casino is a social and cultural hub that provides constant live entertainment, so it’s the ultimate gambling location to visit if you want to have fun.
SkyCity Queenstown Casino – Great for New Players
Finally, our exploration of New Zealand’s top brick-and-mortar casinos takes us to Queenstown and yet another SkyCity Casino. What makes this gambling site unique is the attention the staff provides to new players who are just learning the game. Due to the facility being smaller and not as overrun by tourists, this is the best land-based casino NZ beginners can visit to learn.
|🏨 Casino Name||Skycity Queenstown Casino|
|📍 Address||Stratton House Level 2/16-24 Beach Street, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand|
|🍹 Amenities||Wild Thyme Bar & Kitchen, Gaming Halls, Live Sports Streaming|
|🎶 Entertainment||Concerts, Live Sports Screenings, Social Events|
|🕑 Opening Hours||MON-SUN: 11 a.m.-12 a.m.|
The gaming machines here number only 86, and the table games are around 12, but for a casino of this size, that’s more than enough. Skycity Queenstown Casino is popular for its attentive service, as well as the willingness of its staff to help out beginner gamblers and show them the ropes. So, if you want to visit a physical casino but are too nervous about your blackjack or poker skills, this is the one for you.
Advantages & Disadvantages of Land-Based Casinos in NZ
If you compare land-based casino options with some of the best real money online casinos in New Zealand, you might notice that gambling on location has its pluses and minuses. To make the best choice for you, knowing exactly what you can get out of each experience is crucial. So, check out the list of advantages and disadvantages we’ve compiled for NZ brick-and-mortar casinos.
|👍 Advantages||👎 Disadvantages|
|Authentic Experience||Smaller Game Selection|
|Interactive & Personal||Slower Gameplay|
|Live Entertainment||Modest Bonuses|
Whether you prefer to play at a physical casino in New Zealand or enjoy gambling products from the comfort of your home is all up to you. Both have their pros and cons, and as the table shows, the main advantages of land-based gambling are related to the quality of the experience.
Top online casinos, like the ones in our list of the best online pokies casinos in New Zealand, might have more games, but they can’t offer the same level of interactiveness and thrill you get in real life. Therefore, you should discover what’s most important to you, or better yet, enjoy both.
Frequently Asked Questions About Casinos in New Zealand
You’ve reached the end of this blog on the best land-based casinos New Zealand can offer. We hope that you learned some useful information and got inspired about your next road trip. However, if you still have any questions left, don’t worry. In this last section, we’ve provided answers to frequent inquiries, so read on.
Are there any land-based casinos in New Zealand?
There are several land-based casinos in New Zealand. The first legal physical casino in the country was opened in 1994, and since then, NZ gambling locations have been a main attraction for players worldwide. With such a thriving gaming industry, players even have difficulties deciding which is the best casino to visit.
Are land-based casinos legal in NZ?
Yes, they are. The history of legal gambling in New Zealand begins in the early 1800s with horse racing. The first gambling activities were related to betting on Harness Racing competitions, and it was much later, in the 1990s, that land-based casinos became legal in the country.
What is the best land-based casino in New Zealand?
Every player has their preferences, so we can’t give an answer that everyone will agree with. However, that’s okay because our list of the best land-based casinos in New Zealand includes 5 great options. We’ve rated all these physical operators but our ranking is flexible, so feel free to decide for yourself which one is the best.
Are there any brick-and-mortar casinos in Auckland, New Zealand?
Yes, there are. One of the best casinos featured in this blog – SkyCity Auckland Casino, is located there. Furthermore, this is the casino with the largest game collection. There are over 2000 slot machines and around 150 table games, which is impressive for online casinos, let alone a land-based one.
What are the advantages of playing at a land-based NZ casino?
We all know that gambling online is highly convenient. However, the advantages of land-based casinos in New Zealand are also significant. From an authentic, interactive and personal experience to live entertainment, they can all influence your trip. Of course, NZ brick-and-mortar casinos also have some cons, but these benefits are worth noting.