A look into online gambling in Australia and New Zealand

Online Gambling in Australia and New Zealand

From Craig Martin
August 2017.

In Australia and New Zealand gambling has always been a favourite pastime. Wagering on casino games, sporting events, horse races and even cockroach races is all part of the culture, and it seems like everyone loves to try their luck in one way or another.

When it comes to casino games, online players in both Australia and New Zealand love playing pokies, or slots, as they are known around the rest of the world. As many as 80% of the population of these two countries regularly take part in some sort of gambling, and pokie machines rank by far and large as their first choice.

The Popularity of Pokies

Table games are a lot less popular and historically, these games have only really been played at land-based casinos. In contrast, the availability of pokies made them a smash hit, and they gained favour due in part to their easy accessibility. From the bar counters in saloons from days gone by, to the corner café, these reel spinning games are an Aussie and Kiwi institution.

These games are also very easy to play, and some of them, especially those that feature progressive jackpot prizes, are able to award truly enormous wins. In fact, Rawiri Pou, from New Zealand, and an anonymous player from Australia, are honourably mentioned in the list of the biggest jackpot wins of all time: Pou hit $7.41 million, the anonymous player $7.86, and both were playing Microgaming titles: Mega Moolah, and The Dark Knight, respectively.

Why are They Called Pokies?

No one is 100% sure of the reason behind the strange nickname these games have garnered, but there is a popular theory doing the rounds. Back when gambling games started appearing in casinos and pubs, they mostly took the shape of poker machines. The reason for the shortened term is obvious for these games, but the manner in which they came to include all slots games is a little hazier. The slots were initially placed alongside these poker machines wherever they were available, and it is thought that that is how they started all becoming known by the one blanket term.

Players Prefer Online

Insights reveal that as many as 80% of adults from this part of the world engage regularly in gambling of some kind, and they form the highest rate of gambling worldwide. This amount includes around 4% of adults who play pokie games at least once a week, which account for around 62% of locals' annual spend on gambling activities.

The online arena has garnered the biggest amount of attention, and along with pokies, it seems as though Keno is a local favourite, having made the very successful transition from land based venues, pubs and clubs, to the digital realm. At a NZD online casino players will find an abundance of both these games, and pokies often make up the lions share of entertainment on offer, with several hundred titles featured.

If we look at the overall Australian and New Zealand gambling industry it's clear that the majority of players flock to games of chance, and that games that require skill and strategy are far less favoured. Whether this comes down to where the games are played, how readily available they were, or whether both nations just prefer fast paced thrills to careful contemplation, is anyone's guess.


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