Top 10 Land-Based Casinos in New Zealand

Isolated from the rest of the world with the nearest neighbour over a thousand miles away, New Zealand offers a unique, distinct, and immersive local casino experience. The physical casinos attract visitors and locals eager to experience the vibrance and real-time energy of real money gaming. Playing games started with the Māori community who arrived in the country around the mid-1300s. In this article, we'll take a look at the history of gambling in NZ, law and regulation changes, and the best land-based casinos you can visit in 2024.

Written by Bonnie Gjurovska 9 minute read
10 land based casinos in new zealand

Quick Look at the History of Gambling in New Zealand

Official figures, according to the Ministry of Social Development in New Zealand, show a significant increase in gambling. The stats include casinos, gambling machines, sports betting, and lotto since 1990. In the space of just 10 years after 1993, six local casinos opened to a population of over 4 million. The reasons for the popularity of gambling in the country are to win money, have fun, socialise, and support worthy causes. This remains mostly unchanged since the 1990 study by Abbott and Volberg.

Law and Regulation Changes

In terms of the uniqueness of the country, 18% of gambling machines are in casinos with 82% in clubs and pubs, because of travelling distances to the casinos. The Amendment Paper shows that the Cabinet is stepping forward to change laws in New Zealand, which includes regulating online gambling. Such changes, welcomed by land-based casinos, can contribute to the economic stability and growth in online gambling, rapidly rising in the country, fuelled by Kiwis preferring to access casino games via their mobile devices. One of the first steps forward is the 12% tax increase to offshore operators from July 2024.

Exploring the Best Land-Based Casinos in New Zealand

The laws in NZ regulating casinos allow only a select number of land-based casinos, focussing on quality instead of quantity. The world-class casinos attract players from all over the country, and international travellers make up a high percentage of visitors. Most of the casinos are owned by the SkyCity Entertainment Group, founded in 1996, and remains one of the biggest players in the local market. Below, we'll guide you through the best land-based casinos in New Zealand and give you some insight into what they offer and what you can expect during your visit in 2024.

christchurch casino

Christchurch Casino

Pros & Cons

  • Hundreds of slot machines and table games
  • Unique VIP lounge experience
  • Must be over 20 years old to play

New Zealand's First Land-Based Casino

Setting the stage for world-class entertainment via a vibrant atmosphere since opening in 1994, Christchurch Casino is owned by SkyLine Entertainment. The casino of 43,998 square feet is the first to open in NZ, operates from 12pm to 12 am (2am Friday and Saturday) and features over 500 gaming machines. Visitors to one of the best NZ casinos can also enjoy a range of popular table games. The VIP Club Aspinall offers a more personalised experience.

Some of the best dealers present new and experienced players with a sociable atmosphere and great gaming, playing games such as Rapid Baccarat and Rapid Roulette. Apart from blackjack being the most popular, players can enjoy various poker options and the easiest, most exciting and fun is the Money Wheel. The VIP gaming lounge offers various slots and VIP tables to guests on the top level of the casino.

Christchurch Casino is not only the go-to for a memorable casino experience but also boasts three restaurants serving from Kiwi classics to Asian Fusion. The Monza Sports Bar offers big-screen live sports, while the Skylark Bar and Lounge entertains with supreme musical acts and live music. It is also a supreme nightlife destination hosting poker championships, stand-up comedians, life performances from local artists, and quiz nights.

Christchurch Online Casino opened in October 2023 and bypassed the online gambling restrictions in NZ via a Malta Gaming Authority license. Online players over the age of 20 can enjoy over 2,000 games from world-renowned software developers, including top online pokies, table games, live dealer, and more. New players can explore the extensive gaming variety with a welcome package combining a match deposit bonus with hundreds of loyalty points.

skycity casino auckland

SkyCity Casino Auckland

Pros & Cons

  • Operates 24 hours a day and 7 days a week
  • Free Play is available to eligible members
  • Additional parking cost

Premiere Casino Entertainment

The magnificent venue became one of the best local casinos shortly after its launch in February 1996. SkyCity Auckland caters to all player preferences. The casino offers over 2,100 gaming machines and accommodates all levels of excitement with over 150 table games. The casino is a favourite for its free play option that is available via premier bonus dollar rewards and Quick Pay, making it quick and easy to move between slot machines.

Located in the CBD of Auckland, SkyCity Casino offers easy and convenient access to its wide range of table games and the latest slot machines. It presents visitors with a 360-degree breathtaking view of Auckland from Sky Tower, which is 328m tall. Besides the range of blackjack and roulette games, players can also enjoy baccarat on over 20 tables in the vibrant Baccarat Room featuring a dedicated cashier services and bar.

SkyCity offers two exclusive VIP gaming programmes while poker tournaments are open to Premier Rewards cardholders. Accommodation is available at the Horizon, Grand, and SkyCity Hotel. A wide choice of award-winning dining at some of the best restaurants and bars offer combinations of dinner and shows, golden hours, monthly specials, and live performances to ensure a great break-away.

SkyCity Online Casino launched in August 2019 and is licensed by the Malta Gaming Authority, in partnership with the Gaming Innovation Group. The online casino features an array of slots, bingo, virtual sports, excellent blackjack games, online roulette, and live casino games by top software suppliers, highlighted by exciting welcome offers for new online casino players from NZ.

skycity casino hamilton

SkyCity Casino Hamilton

Pros & Cons

  • More than 300 slot machines
  • Wide variety of table games
  • Customer service can be hit and miss

Best Destination to Play and Relax for New Zealand Players

Located on the North Island featuring a gaming space of 16,087 square feet, New Zealanders describe SkyCity Casino Hamilton as the most exclusive destination to rest and play in the country. Prepare for an exciting experience with over 330 gaming machines and free play days with premier bonus dollar rewards. The 23 table games at the Hamilton SkyCity Casino include a variety of popular options, including blackjack, baccarat, incredible roulette games, and poker.

Luxurious play awaits in the Salon 8 VIP area, while the progressive jackpots on Caribbean Stud Poker and Ultimate Texas Hold'em constantly increase. More action awaits on the second level at the bowling alley, offering a view of the Waikato River. Restaurants and bar choices are varied and include live entertainment at the Amuse Bar & Kitchen while the Shanghai Restaurant serves Asian fusion, Sichuan and Zhejiang cuisines.

The experience at SkyCity Hamilton offers entertainment for all with colouring-in competitions, huge giveaways, quiz nights on Thursdays, Spin to Win on Wednesdays, and Cash or Car promotions. It is one of the top local casinos and a perfect destination to relax or to take advantage of turning points into play or join the power winners to claim instant prizes.

skycity casino queenstown

SkyCity Casino Queenstown

Pros & Cons

  • Open from 11am to 1am daily
  • Self-Service TAB terminals on site
  • Limited number of gaming machines and table games

Magnificent New Zealand Casino

A visit to one of the most picturesque cities is a great opportunity to enjoy the hospitality at the SkyCity Casino in Queenstown. Launched towards the end of 2000, the casino offers over 86 gaming machines, plus a table game variety of over 12 tables featuring locally popular variants of roulette, blackjack, and baccarat. The casino welcomes visitors and local players every day from 11am to 12am, which means there is no reason to wait before you can have fun.

SkyCity Casino Queenstown is a favourite for anyone who wants to brush up on their table game skills or has never played casino games before. The table game variety includes Midi Baccarat, Roulette, Caribbean Stud Poker, Blackjack and an exciting selection of 86 slot machines that are playable with a range of denominations. The benefits from the SkyCity premier membership rewards make it possible to make the most out of every visit.

Apart from member-exclusive promotions, it is also a great way to stand a chance to win cash prizes. Enjoy lunch or dinner at the Wild Thyme Bar & Kitchen from 12pm to 10pm Wednesday to Sunday. The snack menu is available on Tuesdays from 11am to late. If you are not situated close to the land-based casino, we highly recommend taking a look at our list of the best online casinos in New Zealand that operate 24 hours a day and 7 days a week with generous promotions and bonuses and thousands of games to keep you entertained.

grand casino dunedin

Grand Casino Dunedin

Pros & Cons

  • Play from 12pm daily until late
  • Grand experience combines gaming and dining
  • Need to be over 20 to access casino

A Grand World-Class Experience

International travellers and locals seeking delightful experiences visit the Grand Dunedin Casino for its yesteryear grandeur and opulence, presenting first-class gaming. Located conveniently next to the Scenic Hotel Southern Cross, the casino offers over 180 gaming machines. Table games include poker, baccarat, blackjack, and roulette.

Apart from Good Friday and Christmas Day, the Grand Casino Dunedin in NZ is open daily from 12pm. The most popular event request is the Grand Experience, combining premier dining with an interactive gaming experience. The package for groups of 4 to 21 players offers tournament-style or blackjack hosted by professional croupiers and lasts 90 minutes.

Groups can learn how to play blackjack for free by attending Happy Hours from 5 to 7pm Monday to Thursday. The casino kicks off the experience with free play worth $20. Visiting the Grand Bar & Restaurant makes it possible to enjoy the finest New Zealand cuisine in chic surroundings with superb services and a well-stocked bar. You can also look forward to Grand Rewards, such as complimentary non-alcoholic beverages and 10% discount on food. However, nothing comes close to the loyalty program at Casino Rewards for online players.

skycity wharf asino

SkyCity Wharf Casino

Pros & Cons

  • Play dozens of table games
  • Explore and enjoy over a hundred slots
  • Small casino floor

Elaborate and Famous Casino Experience

Launched in mid-June 1999, the SkyCity Wharf Casino is located in the exclusive Steamer Wharf Complex featuring exquisite views. The charming casino with an amazing lakeside view quickly became one of the top New Zealand casinos. The SkyCity Wharf Casino offers a selection of 24 gaming tables and 120 slot machine games, offering a leisurely experience from 12 noon to 4 am seven days a week.

Table games most favoured by New Zealanders and travellers include roulette, baccarat, blackjack, and Caribbean Stud Poker. The Horizon Room is exclusive to VIP gaming and offers a superior selection of beverages and food. The Wild Thyne Restaurant onsite offers a great menu at affordable prices.

The SkyCity Wharf Casino closed after failing to renegotiate its lease after the landlord, Kopuwai Investments Ltd., changed the lease amount. It remains closed until further notice and the company's venue license will expire in September 2024. Players in this area can take a look at the best minimum deposit casinos in NZ where you only need to deposit $1, $5, or $10 to get started.

Future of New Zealand Land-Based and Online Casinos

New Zealand's 2003 Gambling Act prohibits new land-based casinos, apart from the existing operators, from being built. SkyCity welcomed the recent plans by the Government to regulate online gambling and properly tax online casinos.

The proposed changes could increase the country's low online casino market share and increase economic growth considerably in the next five years. Regulating offshore operators will prevent Kiwis from being targeted by corrupt gambling firms. It is vital for the growth of online casinos after the rise in mobile casino popularity and the growth in sports betting within the country.

 Bonnie Gjurovska
Written by
Bonnie Gjurovska Managing Editor

With a master's degree in business law, Bonnie ventured into the world of online gambling in 2015. Starting out as content writer, she rose through the ranks to eventually manage her own team of writers while planning and structuring content for readers. Visit Bonnie's author page to find out more.

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