The Best Casinos in New Zealand

We often focus on gambling on cruises but seldom take the time to explore other forms of gambling in New Zealand. We have taken this opportunity to highlight the different forms of casino gambling available to New Zealanders and the advantages and disadvantages of each of the types of casinos.

The 4 types of casinos we are going to cover in this article are:

We will discuss the 3 primary areas to consider when looking at each of these types of casinos. These 3 areas are accessibility, experience and variety of games.

Online Casinos

Online Casinos are relatively new compared to the other forms of casino gambling we are discussing here.

Accessibility – Online Casinos

Online casinos are the most accessible of all the types of gambling we have listed. Starting to play at an online casino is as simple as signing up online from a website like Best New Zealand Casinos which will list the best casinos for New Zealanders along with the bonuses available and useful information on how to get the most out of your online casino experience.

There is a lot of information you should understand before deciding whether or not you should play at an online casino and we have listed several articles here that you should read before signing up:

  • Minimum Deposit Casinos in NZ – This article explains the bonus restriction and minimum deposit values at the top online casinos in New Zealand
  • Online Casino Law in New Zealand – This is official regulation relating to online casinos in New Zealand. It highlights the fact that gambling online is only permitted when gambling at an offshore online casino as listed on the Best New Zealand Casinos website.
  • Online Casino Banking Options – This article discusses the various payment and withdrawal methods available at online casinos and highlights the pros and cons of each of these.

Experience – Online Casinos

The experience of gambling online bears some of the trademarks of traditional casinos with players still able to get the adrenaline rush of big wins and bad streaks. The biggest difference between the online and offline casino experience is the fact that you are not surrounded by flashing lights and other players.

The closest you will get to the real-world experience online is to play the live casino games that allow players to place bets remotely at real casino tables that are streamed to your phone or desktop.

The experience itself is not as grand as playing at a land-based casino or on a cruise ship but it is still superior to playing at your local pub in our opinion. This places online casinos 3rd on our list of casino experiences.

Variety of Games – Online Casinos

This is an area where online casinos excel. The variety of games you can find online is virtually endless with many of New Zealand’s online casinos offering more than 1000 games. These games range from feature-rich pokies like Game Of Thrones, live casino table games and massive progressive pokies that reach jackpots over 10 000 000 NZ Dollars.

The top online casinos in New Zealand release at least one new casino game every 2 weeks which is far more frequent than you would find offline, even at the best land-based casinos.

Land Based Casinos

Land-based casinos are probably what most people think of when you speak about casinos. They are normally large opulent buildings that transport their visitors out of their worlds and take them to one of the bright lights, flashing jackpots and the dream of hitting it big.

Accessibility – Land-Based Casinos

Land-based casinos are very accessible for people living in big cities. They often provide accommodation for guests and access to alternative entertainment and child minding services to keep the kiddies as entertained as the adults.

The biggest difficulty in terms of accessibility for land-based casinos is transportation. If you are located in a rural area, it is completely impractical to drive long distances just to have a few spins which means that the act of accessing the casino becomes far more prohibitive than playing at the local pub or online.

Experience – Land-Based Casinos

The experience at the best land-based casinos is all-encompassing. The floors are designed to confuse the senses and take players on a journey into another world. For many of us, the signing bells and jingle of coin buckets release a euphoria that can only be found at the casino.

The RTP (return to player) at most land-based casinos is much lower than at online casinos as it is much more difficult for a player to stand up and walk out of a casino than it is for someone to close a web browser.

Variety of Games

The variety of games at land-based casinos is very dependent on the size of the casino itself. Casinos like SkyCity have a huge selection of games, some of which offer amazing experiences and bonus features that you can find nowhere else.

The downside of this is that the popularity of these casinos can mean that someone else is playing at the machine you want to play at, but this is sometimes a blessing in disguise with many of my biggest wins coming from my second-choice machine.

Pub Gaming / Pokie Rooms

Pub games are the most common form of casino-based gambling in NZ. The ease of access and experience of having a beer and popping a few coins in the one-armed bandit is a familiar pastime for many a Kiwi.

Accessibility – Pub Gaming

The access to pokies machines at local pubs is very convenient for most New Zealanders with pubs and machines being made available in all but the most remote locations. You can see a huge list of pokie rooms available across New Zealand at NZCT.org.nz

Experience – Pub Gaming

The experience of playing at the pub is one that almost every Kiwi understands. It can sometimes start with just a table with the change from a drink and turn into a solid night of good wins and good laughs.

The experience is very different from that of playing at a mega casino in Auckland but it is one that we still enjoy. The wins are more frequent than at large land-based casinos and the play is more about the enjoyment of mid-small wins that just enhance the fun of a good night out.

Variety of Games – Pub Gaming

This is where pub gaming can be lacking. There are no table games and the number of pokie machines and types of pokies are very limited. The linked jackpots are tiny but the frequency of payout is often higher than in larger land-based casinos.

Casino Cruises

Casino cruises are the most luxurious way to experience casino entertainment. There is no need to drive anywhere, you get a completely immersive experience and the festive atmosphere on the cruises helps enhance the casino entertainment.

Accessibility – Casino Cruises

There are obvious difficulties in accessing casino cruises as you would need to leave your home and hop on a luxury cruise to access the casino. Once on the boat, it is a different story though. There is no worry about needing transport home once on the cruise which is a huge advantage once the drinks start flowing.

The key is finding the best casino cruise in New Zealand. The best place to find great deals on casino cruises is at Hoot Cruises New Zealand.

Experience – Casino Cruises

The experience of playing casino on a cruise is one that we suggest every Kiwi should experience. The onboard casinos tend to offer a far more social experience than a land-based casino with players getting to know one another and rooting for each other at the casinos.

The pokies tend to be a bit looser than those at the large mega land-based casinos too. The progressive pokie jackpots tend to be lower too.

Variety of Games – Casino Cruises

The variety of games on must cruises is limited as the cruise liners do not have as much space as the land-based casinos. The larger boats do have a great variety though with some holding over 500 pokie machines.

So if you are looking for easy access we would recommend online casinos, if you are looking for experience then, look no further than casino cruises but if variety is the spice of your life then land-based casinos are your best option.

Appreciating the Importance of Maritime Boundaries for Casino Gambling in a Brief History

One of the things that you should take note of when playing casino games on one of the best cruise ships is the rule on maritime boundaries. It is imperative that you are able to consider the laws of the territories that you are currently in as it would determine the legality of casinos.

Of course, knowing whether gambling is legal or not is the main purpose of having maritime boundaries. Most of the time territories need to identify where their area starts and ends because of the resources that will become available for them.

One of the longest-running disputes when it comes to territorial waters is how the sea should be divided. It is widely known that the dispute has been solved recently between Timor-Leste and Australia.


Since an Australian energy company and Indonesia started to take different sides of the Timor Sea, both countries decided to sign and ratify a treaty called Timor Gap Treaty. However, this treaty does not actually establish maritime boundaries but instead call for a 50-50 deal on the proceeds of the delineated portion of the Sea between Australia and East Timor.

Postimage Appreciating the Importance of Maritime Boundaries for Casino Gambling in a Brief History dancing - Appreciating the Importance of Maritime Boundaries for Casino Gambling in a Brief History

August 1999

During the past years, Woodside has partnered with Shell for a joint exploration and drilling of the portion that Australia covers. However, the entirety of East Timor voted for independence during this year.

This, then, questioned future development plans as well as treaties and boundary terminations.


For Australia, more companies partnered with Woodside to begin oil production. This has resulted in a drastic increase in the tax revenues of Australia. Furthermore, the partnership between the top companies moved for the development of both the Bayu-Undan fields and Greater Sunrise fields.

Postimage Appreciating the Importance of Maritime Boundaries for Casino Gambling in a Brief History whiteboat - Appreciating the Importance of Maritime Boundaries for Casino Gambling in a Brief History

July 2001

The fight of Timor for their independence against Indonesia finally came through. Timor-Leste had made it clear that they will not be bound by treaties which have been entered into by Indonesia from the previous years including the TGT. This time only Australia and East Timor have claims to the maritime area.


During this year, a lot of things happened. An oil and gas company offered East Timor financial support against it expanded seabed boundary claims against Australia. Sometime after, Australia filed reservations to prevent the claims which are raised by Timor-Leste.

In mid-2002 Timor-Leste was permanently released from Indonesia and on the same day they have come up to an agreement with Australia for the Timor Sea Treaty. This is the treaty which replaced TGT initially entered by Australia and Indonesia.


It was not until 2018 when Timor-Leste and Australia finally established their treaty which was established under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. In between these years, a lot of negotiations went through. Demands were made and issues arose. But in the end, all went well.

It is very tiring and time-consuming to resolve disputes when it comes to maritime boundaries. Which is why if you plan on playing casino games on some of the best cruise ships, you should consider cruise ships that follow routes with clear cut lines between territories. This way, you’ll be able to know when to gamble and when to lie low.