Land Based Casinos in New Zealand

The journey of casinos has been pretty erratic in New Zealand. Despite being a relatively smaller country, it is well recognized for its thriving gambling situation.

While the Casino Control Act of 1990 legalized and regulated casinos, the first casino opened up in 1994.

The country features some world-class gaming floors with unique yet reliable games. If you’re looking to navigate the fantastic gambling scene in land-based casinos across New Zealand, here’s a handbook for you.

In this article, we will get into the nitty-gritty of the country’s land-based casinos.

NZ Southern Alps Road trip

A Brief History

Unlike the U.S.A and Europe, land based casinos in NZ are still a relatively new phenomenon, with New Zealand’s first casino opening its doors as late as 1994. Before then, Kiwis were still avid gamblers.  Horse racing and betting on horses had been a popular activity from as far back as 1835 (before it was later banned for a time) and pokies graced the floors of bars and other establishments from 1988. However, there is nothing quite like the sparkling enticement of a casino floor and there was much excitement when Christchurch Casino opened its doors for the first time.

Since 1994, a handful more casinos have opened and these casinos draw in thousands of tourists from Asia and surrounding countries who want to try their luck at pokie machines and table games in one of NZ’s famed casinos. The casinos have created quite the name for themselves and are a popular to-do item on many traveller’s bucket lists. Their associated bars, hotels and restaurants also draw in tourists and locals alike.

How Many Casinos in New Zealand?

There are currently only 6 casinos in New Zealand with no new casinos in sight. These 6 casinos include: Christchurch Casino, Skycity Auckland, Skycity Hamilton, Dunedin Casino, Skycity Queenstown and Wharf Casino. You can rest assured that they are all of the topmost quality as they have to abide to the firm regulations and gambling laws that New Zealand has. They are also continuously receiving updates and refurbishing.  No matter which casino you decide to play at you can expect to have a fantastic gaming experience!

The country’s biggest Casino is the Skycity in Auckland and is also the only casino in the capital. This casino is famed for its Sky Tower that boasts stunning 360 degree views of the city and is complete with hotels, bars and restaurants. The rest of New Zealand’s casinos are of the same quality, with Christchurch Casino being home to the New Zealand Poker Tournament every year, is also New Zealand’s very first casino and the Dunedin Casino being known for its lavish and opulent rooms.

Which are the Land-Based Casinos in NZ?

NZ boasts all of six land-based casinos in total. The low number of casinos can be attributed to the strict legal requirements.

Besides these six casinos, there are various hotels, clubs, and slot halls, where you might find pokies. However, these are operated by non-profit charities. All the revenue from such gambling venues is used for funding multiple socially beneficial projects and organizations.

Here's a look at the six land-based casinos of NZ.

1. Christchurch Casino


Christchurch Casino was the first operational land-based casino in New Zealand. It opened its doors in 1994 and is thriving even today.

Located close o the Christchurch Airport, it is a 24-hour facility that anyone over the age of 20 can enter.

The casino is a bit strict in terms of dress code, so you can't wear jeans, sportswear, work boots, tracksuits, thongs, or tee shirts. Additionally, you can't carry coats, hats, or big bags into the casino, but you can leave them in a cloakroom with an attendant.

The Christchurch Casino property is also home to two bards and three restaurants besides the casino. The New Zealand Poker Championships are held at this very casino.

2. SkyCity Auckland

SKYCITY Auckland Casino

SkyCity Auckland happens to be the largest land-based casino in New Zealand. It is situated right in the centre of NZ's second-largest city, Auckland.

The venue is a part of the luxurious Sky Tower facility and offers other forms of entertainment as well. You can enjoy the theatre, dine-in at restaurants, hang around bars, attend the convention centre, or stay at the two hotels.

This casino houses north of 2000 real money slot games and more than 150 table games, including Roulette, Poker, and Blackjack, among others. SkyCity Auckland even offers Bingo and Tai Sai.

It is a round-the-clock casino that is not closed on any day of the year.

3. Dunedin Casino

Dunedin Casino NZ

The Dunedin Casino can be referred to as the crown jewel of NZ casinos, to the credit of its stylish appearance. The interiors create a musical for the eyes by bringing together traditional and modern designs.

The casino is conveniently located in the centre of the city and can easily be accessed by anyone. It is situated in the Southern Cross Hotel in the Exchange.

While the casino is relatively small, it still offers top-notch services.

The Dunedin Casino features almost 200 slot machines and seven table games. You can enjoy several games, such as Money Wheel, Tai Sai, Baccarat, and Roulette.

They even have a huge Bingo room that can seat up to 130 people.

4. SkyCity Queenstown


Opened in 2000, SkyCity Queenstown is, without doubt, a stellar casino, despite being one of the smallest casinos in New Zealand.

Anyone over the age of 20 can enter this casino and play their stunning games. The casino features 86 gaming machines and 12 gaming tables, of which four tables are in the VIP room.

The variety in the games is also quite impressive, and you'll never run out of options, such as Roulette, Caribbean Stud Poker, Blackjack, and Midi-Baccarat.

If you're new to the venue, there is an incredibly helpful team at the casino that will guide you in understanding the games. In addition, you might also find brochures teaching you how to play casino floor games.

5. SkyCity Hamilton

skycity hamilton building

Set in the picturesque town of Hamilton, SkyCity is a wonderful escape for locals and an attraction for tourists.

It is more than just a casino and offers its visitors impeccable food, live entertainment, and a glamorous bar, besides some of the most popular casino games.

This 24x7 casino is open for all players over the age of 20. It boasts 23 table games, including famous titles like Baccarat, Roulette, Poker, Blackjack, Caribbean Stud Poker, and more. It also houses more than 330 gaming machines.

The staff at SkyCity Hamilton is pretty friendly and offers a memorable experience.

SkyCity Hamilton is situated at Hamilton's Riverside Entertainment Centre, and the property also includes a games centre and a 10-lane bowling alley, among other attractions.

The restaurant at the casino is also worth checking out, as it is one of the most popular eateries in Dunedin.

6. SkyCity Wharf


SkyCity Wharf is another stunning casino in Queenstown. It is a small but beautiful facility, with an incredible lakeside view.

The casino is best known for its views and hospitality. It isn't very big on sounds or games, so you can think of it as more of a leisure casino to kick back and unwind.

With 86 machines and 6 table games, you're sure to have an enjoyable experience at the casino. It comes with all the classic games, such as Caribbean Stud Poker, Blackjack, Baccarat, Roulette, and much more.

The casino also has a special Horizon Room, where the VIP guests are treated like royalty.

SkyCity Wharf offers excellent deals at its eatery, the Wild Thyme Restaurant. While it is limited in terms of options, the quality will leave you wanting more.

Closing Thoughts

Despite having only six commercial casinos, the gambling scene in New Zealand is quite attractive.

These casinos feature the most popular games that you can think of and guarantee an incredible experience. Moreover, they are licensed and regulated, so you don't have to worry about compliance with fair gambling practices.

If you're at these casinos but want a little break from gambling, you can also check out their other entertainment options.

So, what's keeping you away from casino land? Get gambling already!

Last Updated: December 30, 2022