New Zealand closes in on USA for gaming spending

  • Kiwis proving they love a flutter
  • Per person gaming losses now almost at same level of US

New Zealand’s gambling industry is more lucrative than ever according to newly-released figures.

New Zealand has seen growth in its gaming market
New Zealand has seen growth in its gaming market

New Zealand’s Department of Internal Affairs has revealed that spending on gambling has increased by 2.6 per cent in the latest figures available. This number is dwarfed by the 11.1 per cent increase in spending in casinos alone.

This is a sign of the times for a country that has only six casinos, but a population that loves a flutter. It is estimated that Kiwis spend over $600 every year on gambling. Improvements in casino facilities, higher incomes and an influx of tourists are being cited as possible reasons for this increase in spending.

Racing, lotteries and sports betting were also on the rise. Part of the reason for this has been put down to the weekly Big Wednesday promotion being replaced by a bi-weekly draw. The average person from the country spends between $95 and $122 on Lottery tickets. Time will tell if this number increases as the country’s economy continues to grow.

Kiwis still cannot rival the Aussies

But compared to their neighbours, Australia, the Kiwis cannot compete. A recent report in the Economist revealed Australia to be much more keen on a game, with the average Aussie losing $990 through gambling in 2016. But New Zealand is still a major player when it comes to gaming, and now sits only just behind the US when it comes to losses per person.

Like their Antipodean cousins, the biggest market in New Zealand is for gaming machines, with land-based casinos making up about 25% of spending and online making up around 12 per cent.

But a spokesperson for New Zealand’s Problem Gambling Foundation, Andree Froude, pointed to ease of purchase as a reason for the increase. He also stated that some folks who purchase the tickets cannot afford to be spending as much as they are, with gaming machines, known locally as pokies, seen as particularly tempting.

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