What Are The Best Land Based Casinos In New Zealand?
New Zealand may be small, but the country offers a thriving gambling scene for all casino players, Kiwis and visitors alike. With a large selection of gambling venues, from the lavish Dunedin Casino to the renowned SkyCity Auckland, New Zealand casino lovers can experience thrills beyond their wildest dreams.
If you are after the excitement of spinning pokies reels, the thrill of playing blackjack or the suspense of a roulette game, NZ casinos have it all! So bookmark this handy guide written by our casino experts at Gambling.com. We constantly update it with news, promotions and all the ins and outs of the best casinos New Zealand has to offer.
Land-Based Casinos vs Online Casino Experience
Despite some similarities, land-based and online casinos have their own charms, distinctiveness, and substantial advantages. Both, however, will guarantee you a fantastic gambling experience.
Online casinos offer the convenience of playing from your own home and on your mobile from wherever you are. But some players say that nothing beats the breathtaking environment of a brick-and-mortar casino. Gambling and winning at a land-based NZ casino is arguably one of the most fulfilling experiences a Kiwi player can have. And the encouragement and congratulations from other players and dealers make it even more exciting.
Speaking about fellow casino players, brick-and-mortar casinos allow you to socialise with and meet real people around tables. This human interaction, both with fellow players and dealers, is tricky to replicate online. But most online casinos now offer live dealer games that are broadcasted from studios and streamed to your device in real-time. Online casinos also offer native apps, bonuses and promotions, and more incentives.
Whether you are playing online or at a brick-and-mortar casino, each experience offers its unique advantages. The good news is that you don’t have to choose one over the other! To make sure you get the best of both worlds, our casino team also scoured the internet to find for you the best online casinos for New Zealand players. So whether you are looking to play at an online or land-based Kiwi casino, we’ve got you covered.
In addition to our recommended online NZ casinos, we’ve compiled a list of the best land-based venues in the country. So without further ado, let’s jump in to find out what the best New Zealand casinos have to offer.
Located in the Exchange, about half a kilometre south of the city of Dunedin, the Dunedin Casino, now referred to as the Grand Casino, is Dunedin’s premier entertainment venue. This opulent NZ casino resides in the Scenic Circle Southern Cross Hotel, dating back to 1883. Officially opening in 1999, this nostalgia casino now offers over 180 electronic pokie machines, as well as blackjack, roulette, baccarat, and Caribbean stud poker tables.
Visitors to Dunedin Casino can delight in a feast of contemporary New Zealand cuisine at the Grand Bar and Restaurant. It guarantees a superb dining experience through a well-stocked bar, excellent service, and an extensive menu. Dunedin Casino also offers fantastic daily deals and draws, such as ‘Triple Tuesday Draws’, ‘Flash Friday Draw’ and ‘$2,000 Sundays’.
Did we already mention it’s a nostalgia casino? Dunedin Casino’s interior showcases the traditional Victorian style through classical architecture and elegant décor, even sporting a grand spiral staircase for added magnificence. Overall, alongside its incredible selection of pokies and other quality casino games and luxurious bar and restaurant, New Zealand casino players will be well looked after every day of the year (excluding Christmas Day and Good Friday) by Dunedin Casino.
Donning a considerably more modern look than the Dunedin Casino, Christchurch Casino is located, as its name suggests, in Christchurch, more specifically on Victoria Street. The nearly 44,000 sq ft gambling facility initially opened in 1994 and was New Zealand’s first-ever land-based casino to launch.
Boasting over 500 pokie machines, 36 game tables (including roulette, blackjack, baccarat, poker, and Texas Hold’em), as well as private baccarat and poker lounges, this NZ casino offers something for everyone.
Alongside its exceptional offer of pokies and quality casino games, Christchurch Casino also boasts three exclusive restaurants and bars:
- The Café is ideal for lunch, dinner, or just a quick coffee with friends, hosting several international food options from Asian fusion to Kiwi classics.
- Monza Sports Bar is the spot to be for watching live sport in Christchurch. Along with a vibrant menu and great drinks, a 208” LCD wall in HD and ten large flat-screen TVs will ensure you will not miss a single piece of the action.
- Valley Bar’s modern décor and comfortable atmosphere make it the perfect place for a glass of wine and a quick bite to eat. Snack on delicious, handcrafted pizzas, burgers, and nibbles and enjoy a wide selection of alcoholic drinks.
Christchurch Casino also hosts live entertainment, such as live music and themed nights, every Friday and Saturday. It is also open 24/7 and is the home of the nation-wide renowned New Zealand Poker Championship tournament. Combined with a stellar native app, the wide selection of pokies and more quality casino games, and multiple unique bars and restaurants, Christchurch Casino is well worth the visit.
SkyCity Auckland Casino
Located in the base of the illustrious Sky Tower within the central business district of Auckland, SkyCity Auckland Casino opened in 1996, being the second land-based casino to open in New Zealand and remains the only casino in Auckland to this day.
SkyCity Auckland Casino offers more than 2,100 pokie machines and over 150 classic table games (blackjack, roulette, baccarat, poker, casino Hold’em, and many more). As well as exclusive rooms for VIP players and high stakes gamblers, it’s safe to say that SkyCity Auckland is a top New Zealand casino.
In addition to the 328m tall Sky Tower, which offers guests a breathtaking 360-degree view of Auckland, the complex also includes a vast 700-seat theatre and a whopping 23 bars and restaurants. SkyCity Auckland’s three hotels, the SkyCity Hotel, The Grand by SkyCity, and Horizon by SkyCity, the latter two being five stars, provide luxury and sophistication from the moment you arrive.
SkyCity Auckland prides itself on the wide selection of bars and restaurants provided for guests. With a dizzying array of international cuisines, such as Italian, Japanese, Chinese, American, Indian, and more, as well as cafes, cocktail bars, and luxurious wine bars on offer, there will be no hungry mouths in SkyCity Auckland’s casino floor.
That’s not all. This quality casino welcomes guests 24 hours a day, seven days a week. SkyCity Auckland casino also offers bingo, live entertainment, live music, and many unique experiences for guests. Wrapped up in one remarkable venue, the complex’s beautiful design, range of casino games, and other amenities make SkyCity Auckland an outstanding land-based NZ casino.
SkyCity Hamilton Casino
Opening in September 2002, SkyCity Hamilton Casino is situated on the banks of the Waikato River inside the former Chief Post Office, with the venue featuring floor-to-ceiling glass to ensure customers enjoy spectacular views. Alongside its 300+ pokie machines, 23 table games including poker, and VIP gaming services, including Salon 8, SkyCity Hamilton is a leading entertainment destination in the heart of the city of Hamilton.
SkyCity Hamilton Casino is a part of the Riverside Centre, a complex which includes various bars, restaurants and even a ten-pin bowling alley. Spots to wine and dine within the superb riverside location include:
- Local Taphouse, for locally crafted beer, cider, and tasty food.
- Eat Burger, for great value-for-money, mouth-watering burgers.
- Marble Room, with an impressive cocktail, champagne, and whiskey selection.
- View Bar, a stylish bar to enjoy live music and incredible food and drink.
- Number 8 Bar, offering a variety of food and beverage options to suit everyone.
- Zone Sports Bar, home to large screens where you won’t miss any sports action.
SkyCity Hamilton casino is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for non-stop thrill. All wrapped in one magnificent yet convenient venue, you can find the nation’s most popular casinos games, captivating live entertainment and great food and drink options.
SkyCity Queenstown Casino
As the name suggests, SkyCity Queenstown is situated in Queenstown, New Zealand, more specifically on Beach Street. Initially opening in December 2000, SkyCity Queenstown is open from 11 am until 12 am-midnight every day (excluding Christmas Day and Good Friday), so you will not have to wait until nightfall before joining in the fun!
The casino has eight gaming tables, including roulette, blackjack, and midi baccarat, and four additional game tables in the exclusive VIP room and 86 pokie machines.
Wild Thyme Bar and Kitchen, located in the SkyCity QueenstowCasinono, offers a great blend of outstanding value, hearty New Zealand cuisine, and excellent service. The extensive à la carte menu boasts high-quality dishes, including New Zealand lamb, beef, and seafood.
SkyCity Premier Rewards members at SkyCity Queenstown Casino are eligible for ‘Points into Play’, allowing members to transfer their Bonus Dollars and Premier Points into gaming credits directly at their gaming machine. Among the SkyCity Queenstown meeting room, providing seating for up to 60 people, as well as the great variety of casino slot and table games, and the exquisite Wild Thyme bar, the opulent SkyCity Queenstown is a must-see destination.
SkyCity Wharf Casino
Located just down the street from the SkyCity Queenstown casino, the SkyCity Wharf Casino offers New Zealand casino bettors a boutique NZ casino experience. Despite being the smallest land-based casino in our list of recommendations, SkyCity Wharf boasts around 70 pokies machines and six game tables (including blackjack, roulette, baccarat, and poker). This small-yet-mighty casino offers stunning views of Queenstown’s Lake Wakatipu.
Originally opening in 1999 in the heart of Steamer Wharf under the name Otago Casino, SkyCity acquired the NZ casino in 2013 and rebranded to the SkyCity Wharf Casino. Open from 11 am until 2 am every day (excluding Christmas Day and Good Friday), the cosy and inviting atmosphere, along with a decent selection of slots and casino games, makes SkyCity Wharf Casino a great land-based venue for New Zealand casino players.
SkyCity Wharf Casino doesn’t offer bespoke restaurants and bars on its premises. However, guests will have access to the incredible assortment of pubs, cafes, bars, and restaurants along Beach Street and within Steamer Wharf. These include Ivy and Lola Bar and Kitchen, the Pub on the Wharf, Wai Waterfront Restaurant, Flame Bar and Grill, and many others.
Whether you live in New Zealand or just visiting, the country offers a fantastic selection of land-based and online casinos for all types of players to enjoy. From grand casinos situated in historic Victorian-era hotels to warm and inviting waterfront gambling venues, NZ casinos have it all.
So pick one of the beautiful casino venues and go for a thrilling trip of gambling, dining and entertainment, or sign up, claim a bonus and play online until you get a chance to book your trip. Either way, always gamble responsibly and stay within your limits, so you can keep enjoying live casinos, and all the other great things beautiful New Zealand has to offer.
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