New Zealand Pokies

Slot machine games, or rather pokies, as referred to by the natives of New Zealand have gained popularity exponentially in the recent times especially after the onset of online casinos. Wondering how and why this type of game became a favourite for the Kiwis? Let’s take a brief tour!

The Electronic Machines

the electronic machines

The games were first introduced in New Zealand back in 1991, but then, during that time they were not called pokies. Moreover, they were at first not legally accepted until the parliament passed a law accepting the operating and licensing of the game. The legalising of the pokies was a major boost because the majority of the players started playing it since it was really simple. And that’s how the fame of pokies started growing.

However, the game grew so popular that in a bid to control the masses’ dependency on it, the government decided to exclude the capital city from having any of the Pokies gaming machines installed in the year 2001.

The Modern Casino Pokies

modern casino pokies

When the New Zealand government started regulating gambling officially, pokie games could now be found in most pubs, hotels and many other entertainment joints.  Kiwis grew fond of spinning the reels game because the pokies often had big payout ratios and very interesting rounds. Better yet, the most interesting pokies even came with massive progressive jackpots that could easily turn any layman an instant millionaire! You’ll also be interested to know that the state recently passed laws that require all the pokies machines to be monitored by an Electronic Monitoring System that will be checking on how the games are progressing and their operations. This way, all reel-spinning operations can safely be above board without taking advantage of Kiwi players.

Online Pokies

online pokies

In the wake of new gaming technologies, the pokies were not left behind either. In 1994 the first online pokies were introduced, and they were Cash Splash and Fruit Fiesta among a few other classic hits. Although the games did not catch popularity immediately, first adopters of internet gaming liked them, and before you know it, their acceptance blew up in the late 1990s. Several other games have also introduced this platform, and likewise, they have not failed to impress the players.

However, in 2003, a law passed by the New Zealand parliament banned the online gambling. Even so, pokies have proved to stand the test of time, and they have grown both in number and popularity. That’s because while the law bans local online gaming services in the country, it doesn’t restrict offshore providers and operators from offering their services to Kiwis.

Types of Pokies

Many rookie players have no idea that there are different types of pokies available on the market. This could be because these games come in large numbers and Kiwi players just choose the game they like the most or one that feels attractive without really putting a lot of thought into it. So, to help you make a better decision when you’re ready to start spinning the reels online, let’s have a look at the different types of these games;

✔ 3 Reel Pokies

Three-reel pokies are very common if you have been a fanatic of this game from the early years then you have a hint how they look like. The titles were modest and were available in almost every entertainment joint in New Zealand and online casino sites alike. The structure of the game is rather compact with limited space for the symbols on the reels, which translates to fewer pay lines, smaller jackpots and a small number of winning combinations.

This, however, doesn’t mean that you will not be entertained when playing the games, and moreover, you can even land on some big wins from the right symbol combinations. The latest 3-reel pokies also come with activatable bonus rounds, so that you can get more bang out of your back. 

✔ 5 Reel Pokies

Five-reel pokies are quite popular with Kiwis because they are not only fun but they also come packed with more features as compared to the three reels pokies. Like their 3-reel counterparts, they are also easy to play, and their eye-catching interfaces make them even more immersive.

Their gaming interface and layout are bigger than what you’ll find in the traditional options because of the increased number of reels which means more winning combinations. Therefore, they present Kiwi gamers with higher winning opportunities from a host of symbol combos.  Better yet they come with more rewarding perks from features like wilds, scatters, multipliers and even progressive jackpots. 5-reel pokies in New Zealand are usually considered as high-risk – high-reward games because of the number of winning combinations available. Here are the most popular examples of the 5 Reel pokies played by Kiwis:

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✔ 7 Reel Pokies

The 7 Reel Pokies are essentially an up and coming type of pokies that looks to give Kiwis even more winning combinations. Unlike other types of pokies, 7-reel titles aren’t widespread, but their popularity is growing steadily. Since they come with more features than what most gamers are used to, it could take some time to get familiar with them. However, once you understand what they are all about, they are quite fun, perhaps even more entertaining than the classics. To indulge yourself in 7-reel action, you can take on hotshots like;

✔ Video Pokies

This is the pokie machine that comes with exquisite video graphics to make things more lifelike. They are crafted using the latest innovative technologies in the gaming industry to up the ante of entertainment in online gaming sites. Such pokies are popular with players in New Zealand and across the globe because the game interface is usually full of amazing visual and sound effects to enhance and bring the in-game thematic concepts to life.

The icing on the cake of these video pokies is that they come with multiple bonus features some of which have cool extra rounds on the screen to unveil various rewarding prizes. Depending on how you like playing video pokies could be of the 3, 5- or 7-reel kind.

✔ Progressive Pokies

Progressive jackpots have been around for decades since they were first introduced in the year 1984. Generally, these jackpots are pooled together from different pokies machines which keep increasing with every round of play.  Once the jackpot has been won, the payout resets and gamers start chasing the jackpot once again.

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Popular Features of Pokies

Since there is a wide variety of the pokies games which are also divided into different categories, it may be hard for you to understand the structure of the machine if you don’t already know a few basics. Here’s a detailed breakdown of these features so that the next time you visit your favourite pokies site, you won’t get confused.

◼ Free Spin Rounds

As the name suggests, free spins is a bonus that allows you to spin the reels without having to use your account balance for you to increase your odds of winning. And the good thing is that all the payout received from these free spins is cashable. The free spins can be activated in different ways depending on the game you are playing and the combinations it requires you to match.

◼ Scatter Symbols

The scatter symbols do not follow the general pokies rule that requires you to align certain symbols for you to earn a win. These icons are typically more player-friendly because they can show up anywhere on the arrangement and still earn you a payout. They are usually characterised by unique symbols that depict the theme of the title you are playing.

◼ Wild Symbols

Just like the scatter, this game icon is also exceptionally rewarding particularly since it can substitute any other game symbol apart from the scatter. That way, you could easily land on a win, trigger a bonus round or even hit a rewarding multiplier on your payout.

◼ Multipliers

The multiplier symbols on the pokies will increase your winning by a certain number of times. The number of times your win will be increased depending on the type of machine you are playing and the kind of feature you have activated on the reels

Online Pokies Breakdown

When you start playing pokies online, you’ll mostly find them in three different gaming categories that describe how you can enjoy them. They are;

a) Real Money Pokies

Here you use your real money account balance to spin the reel on your devices. They often offer plenty of in-game bonuses, prizes, and of course, real money winnings when you play. The awesome fact about these pokies is that you can play them from anywhere and have the land-based like experience as long as you have a strong internet connection.

b) Free Pokies

As the name suggests, the pokies don’t require you to use your account balance to play. The games have all the features you expect to get in the real money pokie machines, the only difference being you are using virtual credits. You’ll find hundreds of them online, and you can either download them on your device or play them instantly via the browsers. The advantage of playing free pokies is that you get a chance get familiar with the titles before you can actually spend your hard-earned coinage on them.

c) Mobile Pokies

By now, you already know that Kiwis are spending a lot more time on their mobile devices. It’s no wonder why mobile optimised pokies were introduced. They are playable in all types of handheld devices from smartphones to tablets. So, with a few taps and swipes, you can spin your favourite reels whenever you feel like.

Software Providers

Software providers are all we can thank for because their innovativeness is what has led to the sheer volume of titles that are currently available in New Zealand and the rest of the world. While there are plenty of software providers in the online gaming business, only a few have demonstrated that they are all about looking out for player interests. The highest rated providers for Kiwis today are:


Microgaming has been at the forefront in producing the popular gaming software since the year 1994. It is the award-winning software provider well know for its pokies games like the Thunderstruck ii and Mermaid Millions.


NetEnt has dedicated itself to producing some award-winning games and making a huge impact on the gaming industry. Started in the late 1990’s, it has proved to a true market leader when it comes to innovation and 3D gaming software to craft heavy hitters like the Gonzo’s Quest and Starburst amongst other popular games.


Like the other two software producers, Playtech also produced some of the leading games which have gained massive popularity among the Kiwi players. Some of its greatest hits are hotshots like Wolves and Epic Ape amongst others.

Frequently Asked Questions

  What are pokies?

Pokies, as referred to by the New Zealand natives are the slot machines games which are usually easy to play. To win, place your bet, then press a button then wait to see if the combinations match after the reels stop spinning.

Are pokies secure to play?

Yes, legitimate casinos accepting Kiwis make sure that your security is upheld thanks to high-end security encryption software plus multiple firewalls. Always look for the trusted and highly rated houses which have been approved by trusted regulatory authorities like MGA and eCOGRA.

How can one make deposits to play pokies?

Making deposits is really easy. Just log in to your account in the casino and choose the “cashier” then choose the “deposit” button. Select your preferred depositing option, and you are good to go.

What is the minimum age for playing real money pokies?

All pokies sites require you to have at least 18 years for you to play.

Is it legal to play pokies in New Zealand?

Yes, it is legal to play pokies online as long as you are doing it from an offshore gaming operator. The other most important thing is to check whether the pokies site is licensed by trusted gaming jurisdictions like MGA and eCOGRA.