The Most Iconic Pokies Venues in North vs. South Island

The Most Iconic Pokies Venues in North vs. South Island
The Most Iconic Pokies Venues in North vs. South Island

In the vibrant landscape of New Zealand’s entertainment scene, one form of amusement has stood the test of time, captivating the hearts of many: pokies, or pokies machines. These gaming devices are an integral part of Kiwi culture, offering excitement and potential fortunes to those who dare to try their luck.

This blog will take you on a journey through both of New Zealand’s main islands, the North Island and the South Island, to explore their unique pokies experiences.

While these two islands may be known for their stunning landscapes and diverse cultures, they also house a collection of iconic pokies venues that cater to gaming enthusiasts and seekers of entertainment.

So, whether you’re planning a trip to New Zealand, are a local looking to explore your options, or are simply curious about the pokies culture in this enchanting land, you’ve come to the right place.

In this blog, we’ll delve into the most renowned pokies venues in both the North and South Islands, highlighting their distinctive features, gaming offerings, and what makes them a must-visit for anyone with a passion for the thrill of the reels.

Whether you’re a seasoned gambler or just looking for a unique experience, fasten your seatbelt as we embark on this exhilarating journey through the iconic pokies venues of New Zealand’s North and South Islands.

Iconic Pokies Venues in North Vs. South Island

1. SkyCity Auckland

SkyCity Auckland
SkyCity Auckland

Location and Reputation

SkyCity Auckland, perched in the heart of New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland, stands as an iconic symbol of entertainment and gaming. Its central location makes it easily accessible to both locals and tourists alike. With its towering presence on the Auckland skyline, SkyCity has garnered a reputation as a premier gaming and leisure destination.

Gaming Options and Attractions

SkyCity Auckland is a gaming paradise that offers a diverse array of gaming options to cater to every visitor’s preferences. The venue boasts a sprawling gaming floor where you can find a wide variety of pokies, slot machines, and electronic gaming machines. These machines feature an assortment of themes, jackpots, and betting options to suit both casual players and high rollers.

Also find: SKYCITY Auckland Casino

But the gaming experience at SkyCity Auckland extends beyond pokies. Visitors can immerse themselves in various table games like blackjack, roulette, poker, and more. For those seeking the thrill of competition, poker tournaments are a regular feature on the casino's calendar.

SkyCity Auckland isn’t just about gaming. It offers an all-encompassing entertainment experience. The complex houses numerous restaurants serving diverse cuisines, bars for relaxation and socializing, and even a theatre that hosts world-class performances and shows. The Sky Tower, an iconic landmark adjacent to the casino, allows visitors to enjoy panoramic views of the city.

Unique Features and Events

What sets SkyCity Auckland apart are its unique features and events. One of the standout attractions is the SkyWalk and SkyJump experiences, where brave souls can walk around the exterior of the Sky Tower or take a thrilling leap from it. It’s an exhilarating adventure that provides a different perspective of the city.

The casino also frequently hosts special events and promotions, including themed gaming nights, live music performances, and seasonal celebrations. Whether it's a New Year's Eve bash or a themed pokies tournament, SkyCity Auckland ensures that there's always something exciting happening within its walls.

In summary, SkyCity Auckland is more than just a pokies venue; it’s a vibrant entertainment hub in the heart of Auckland. With its wide range of gaming options, dining establishments, breathtaking views, and unique experiences, it continues to uphold its reputation as one of New Zealand’s most iconic pokies venues.

Also read: How to Play Auckland City Pokies and Have Fun?

2. Christchurch Casino: A South Island Gem Included Here

Christchurch Casino
Christchurch Casino

Despite being located on the South Island of New Zealand, Christchurch Casino is a noteworthy establishment that merits inclusion in this North Island-centric section due to its historical significance and prominence in the country’s gaming landscape.

Pokies and Gaming Experiences

Christchurch Casino, nestled in the heart of Christchurch, is a premier gaming destination offering a rich array of gaming experiences. While it doesn’t boast the size of some North Island counterparts, it more than makes up for it in terms of quality and charm.

One of the highlights of Christchurch Casino is its collection of pokies machines. Visitors can enjoy a diverse range of electronic gaming machines, each offering a unique gaming experience. From classic three-reel pokies to modern video pokies with engaging themes, there's something for every pokies enthusiast. 

The casino floor is designed to provide a welcoming and relaxed atmosphere, making it an ideal place for both casual players and dedicated gamers.

In addition to pokies, Christchurch Casino features an assortment of traditional table games. Blackjack, roulette, poker, and baccarat are among the options available, providing an authentic casino experience for those who prefer cards and dice to spinning reels.

Also read: 2 Bars At Christchurch Casino with Live Sports and Cocktails

Standout Features and Historical Significance

Christchurch Casino holds a special place in New Zealand’s gaming history. It was the country’s first-ever casino, opening its doors in 1994 after regulatory changes allowed for legalized gambling. As such, it holds historical significance as a pioneer in New Zealand’s gaming industry.

One standout feature of Christchurch Casino is its commitment to responsible gaming. The establishment places a strong emphasis on promoting responsible gambling practices and providing support for those who may develop gambling-related issues. This dedication to responsible gaming has earned it recognition and respect within the industry.

Moreover, the casino’s location in Christchurch, known as the “Garden City,” offers a unique setting. Visitors can enjoy beautiful gardens and green spaces in the vicinity, providing a refreshing contrast to the excitement of the casino.

Finally, Christchurch Casino, while situated on the South Island, rightfully earns its place in discussions of iconic New Zealand pokies venues. Its historical significance, commitment to responsible gaming, and the quality of its gaming experiences make it a notable destination for locals and tourists alike, regardless of which island they call home.

Also read: 8 Most Popular Pokies in Christchurch City – Pokies in Christchurch Near Me

3. SkyCity Hamilton: A Thriving Hub of Entertainment

SkyCity Hamilton
SkyCity Hamilton

Location and Popularity

SkyCity Hamilton is strategically located in the heart of Hamilton, one of the largest cities in New Zealand’s central North Island. This prime location has made it a popular entertainment destination not only for Hamilton residents but also for visitors from neighbouring regions.

The casino's accessibility and reputation have contributed to its popularity. Situated in a bustling urban area, SkyCity Hamilton offers convenient access to a wide range of amenities, accommodations, and dining options. Its central location within Hamilton makes it a go-to spot for locals looking for entertainment and tourists seeking a taste of New Zealand's casino scene.

Types of Games and Entertainment

SkyCity Hamilton provides an array of gaming options and entertainment experiences to cater to a diverse audience. The core of the casino’s offerings lies in its extensive gaming floor.

Here, patrons can enjoy various pokies machines, offering a mix of classic and modern games, with different themes, bonus features, and betting options to suit all preferences.

Beyond pokies, visitors can engage in traditional table games such as blackjack, roulette, poker, and baccarat. These games provide an interactive and social gaming experience, attracting both seasoned players and those looking to try their luck.

Apart from gaming, SkyCity Hamilton is well-equipped with dining establishments, bars, and lounges that serve a variety of cuisines and beverages. Whether you’re in the mood for a gourmet meal, casual dining, or a relaxing drink, the venue has you covered.

Recent Developments or Changes

To offer an up-to-date perspective, it’s worth noting that the gaming and entertainment industry is subject to changes and innovations. Recent developments at SkyCity Hamilton might include the introduction of new pokies machines, updated promotions, or enhancements in dining experiences.

The casino may also have adapted to new industry trends, such as offering online gaming options or incorporating technology to enhance the overall customer experience.

It’s recommended to check SkyCity Hamilton’s official website or contact the venue directly for the most current information regarding recent developments, promotions, and any changes in their offerings.

In fact, SkyCity Hamilton’s central location, diverse gaming options, and multifaceted entertainment offerings have cemented its status as a popular and thriving hub of entertainment in the North Island of New Zealand. Keep an eye on the venue’s updates to ensure you don’t miss out on the latest experiences and offerings during your visit.

Iconic Pokies Venues in the South Island

1. Dunedin Casino: Where History Meets Entertainment

Dunedin Casino
Dunedin Casino

Location and Rapport

Nestled in the heart of Dunedin, a city renowned for its rich history and stunning architecture, Dunedin Casino stands as a unique and iconic pokies venue on New Zealand’s South Island. What sets this establishment apart is not only its gaming offerings but also its historical setting, creating an unforgettable blend of entertainment and heritage.

Historical Significance

Dunedin Casino occupies the grand and historic Southern Cross Hotel, an architectural gem that dates back to the late 19th century. The building itself exudes a sense of old-world charm, with ornate detailing and timeless elegance. This historical backdrop adds a layer of sophistication and character to the casino experience, making it a must-visit destination for those intrigued by the fusion of history and entertainment.

Pokies and Gaming Options

Dunedin Casino provides visitors with an enticing array of gaming options, including an impressive selection of pokies or slot machines. These machines come in various themes and denominations, offering a diverse gaming experience for players of all preferences and budgets. Whether you’re a fan of classic fruit machines or modern video slots, you’ll find something to captivate you amidst the pokies at Dunedin Casino.

Beyond pokies, the casino features an assortment of traditional table games like blackjack, roulette, poker, and baccarat. The elegant and refined ambiance of the gaming floor adds to the allure of trying your luck at these classic casino games.

Unique Aspects and Events

What makes Dunedin Casino truly special are its unique aspects and the occasional events it hosts. The historical setting, as mentioned earlier, is an exceptional feature that transports visitors to a bygone era of elegance and sophistication.

Additionally, the casino occasionally hosts themed gaming nights and special events that add an extra layer of excitement to the gaming experience. These events may include themed parties, pokies tournaments, or live entertainment, creating a vibrant and dynamic atmosphere for patrons.

Visitors can also enjoy dining at the Grand Bar and Café within the casino, which offers a blend of classic and contemporary cuisine.

Dunedin Casino offers more than just gaming; it offers a journey through time, with its historical setting and a wide range of gaming options. Whether you’re captivated by the charm of the Southern Cross Hotel or enticed by the pokies and table games, Dunedin Casino is a South Island gem that seamlessly units history and entertainment, making it a standout destination for both locals and tourists.

Also find: Dunedin’s Hidden Gambling Gems: Where Locals Play Pokies

2. Other South Island Venues: Exploring More Options

While Dunedin Casino certainly holds a special place in the South Island’s gaming scene, there are a few other notable pokies venues in the region that are worth mentioning. One such venue, though it has historical significance, is Lasseters Wharf Casino. Please note that the status and significance of these venues may have changed since my last knowledge update in September 2021.

Lasseters Wharf Casino (Historical Significance)

Lasseters Wharf Casino, located in Queenstown, was once a well-known and beloved pokies venue on the South Island. It was part of the historic Steamer Wharf complex, which offered a unique blend of entertainment, dining, and stunning lakeside views.

Visitors could enjoy a range of pokies and electronic gaming machines while taking in the picturesque surroundings of Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkables mountain range.

However, it’s essential to note that Lasseters Wharf Casino permanently closed its doors in 2013. The closure marked the end of an era for this iconic South Island venue. While it is no longer operational, it remains a significant part of the region’s gaming history.

Other Notable South Island Venues (if applicable)

Depending on the time frame and developments in the South Island's gaming industry, there may be other notable pokies venues worth exploring. These venues may have unique features, scenic locations, or special events that attract visitors seeking entertainment and gaming experiences. 

For the most current information about such venues, it’s advisable to refer to local guides, websites, or gaming industry updates to ensure you’re aware of the latest offerings and any new additions to the South Island’s pokies scene.

Always remember that the popularity and status of pokies venues can change over time due to various factors, including regulatory changes, economic conditions, and shifts in customer preferences. It’s a good practice to verify the current status and offerings of any gaming venue before planning a visit.

Read: Auckland City Pokies

Changes and Developments in the Pokies Gaming Scene

The pokies gaming scene in New Zealand is far from static; it’s a dynamic and evolving landscape influenced by a variety of factors, including regulatory changes, shifts in consumer behavior, and economic conditions. In this section, we’ll delve into some of the notable changes and developments that have shaped the pokies gaming scene, including recent closures and new openings in both the North and South Islands.

Dynamic Nature of the Pokies Gaming Scene:

  • Regulatory Changes: The New Zealand government regularly reviews and updates gambling regulations to ensure responsible gambling and protect consumers. Changes in regulations can impact the availability, operation, and advertising of pokies venues.
  • Consumer Preferences: Consumer preferences in entertainment and gaming are continually evolving. Venues adapt by introducing new games, technologies, and amenities to cater to changing tastes.
  • Economic Factors: Economic conditions can influence the gaming industry. Economic downturns may affect patronage, while economic growth can lead to increased investment in gaming facilities.

Recent Closures and New Openings:

  • Closures: It’s important to note that the pokies gaming scene has seen some closures in recent years. These closures may be due to various reasons, including changing market dynamics and regulatory pressures. For example, as mentioned earlier, Lasseters Wharf Casino in Queenstown, South Island, closed its doors in 2013.
  • New Openings: The gaming industry in New Zealand is not limited to traditional casinos; there are also smaller gaming venues, clubs, and pubs that offer pokies machines. The opening of new venues or the expansion of existing ones is influenced by factors such as demand and local regulations. New openings may occur in response to shifts in consumer demand or changes in local demographics.

It’s worth noting that the gaming industry is closely monitored and regulated in New Zealand to ensure the integrity of operations and the protection of consumers. Responsible gambling initiatives and problem gambling support services are also essential components of the industry.

For the most up-to-date information on pokies venue closures, openings, and regulatory changes in both the North and South Islands, it is advisable to consult official government sources, local news reports, and industry publications. Staying informed about these developments is crucial for both industry stakeholders and individuals interested in the pokies gaming scene.

Responsible Gambling and Seeking Support

Responsible gambling is essential for ensuring that gaming remains an enjoyable and safe form of entertainment. If you or someone you know is struggling with gambling-related issues, it’s crucial to seek help and support.

Here are some important steps and contact information for gambling support organizations in New Zealand:

1. Set Limits and Stick to Them:

  • Establish a budget for your gambling activities and stick to it.
  • Set time limits to ensure that gaming doesn’t interfere with other aspects of your life.
  • Avoid chasing losses; gambling should never be seen as a way to solve financial problems.

2. Recognize Signs of Problem Gambling:

  • Be aware of the warning signs, such as increasing time spent gambling, borrowing money to gamble, or neglecting responsibilities.
  • If you or someone you know is displaying these signs, it may be time to seek help.

3. Seek Support from Gambling Helpline:

  • Gambling Helpline New Zealand offers confidential and free support for individuals affected by gambling issues.
  • Phone: 0800 654 655 (available 24/7)
  • Website:

Also Read: Overcoming Pokies Addiction: How to Stop Gambling on Pokies in New Zealand

4. Self-Exclusion Programs:

  • Many casinos and gaming venues offer self-exclusion programs, allowing individuals to voluntarily exclude themselves from gambling activities.
  • Contact your local casino or gaming venue for information on their self-exclusion policies.

5. Talk to a Counselor or Therapist:

  • Consider speaking with a professional counselor or therapist who specializes in gambling addiction.
  • They can provide tailored guidance and support to help individuals overcome gambling-related challenges.

6. Join Support Groups:

  • Support groups such as Gamblers Anonymous provide a safe space for individuals to share their experiences and receive peer support.
  • Visit the Gamblers Anonymous New Zealand website for more information.

7. Friends and Family Support:

Friends and family play a vital role in supporting individuals with gambling issues. Encourage open and non-judgmental communication.

8. Financial Counseling:

If gambling has caused financial strain, consider seeking financial counselling to help manage debts and create a sustainable financial plan.

Remember that seeking help is a sign of strength, and there are numerous resources available to support individuals on their journey toward responsible gambling.

By taking proactive steps and reaching out to support organizations, individuals can regain control of their gambling habits and enjoy gaming in a responsible and safe manner.

Read: Gaming Lounges in Auckland


In this exploration of iconic pokies venues in New Zealand’s North and South Islands, we’ve ventured into a world of excitement and entertainment that spans from the northern urban hub of Auckland to the historic charm of Dunedin in the South Island.

Here’s a brief recap of the key takeaways:

  • North Island Gems: The North Island boasts renowned pokies venues like SkyCity Auckland and SkyCity Hamilton. These destinations offer a diverse range of gaming experiences, dining options, and entertainment, making them must-visit spots for anyone seeking the thrill of the reels.
  • South Island Elegance: The South Island shines with the historical grandeur of Dunedin Casino, where gaming is complemented by the timeless elegance of the Southern Cross Hotel. It’s a place where history and entertainment blend seamlessly, providing visitors with a unique experience.
  • Dynamic Scene: The pokies gaming scene in New Zealand is dynamic and subject to various changes and developments. These changes include regulatory shifts, adaptations to consumer preferences, and economic factors. It’s crucial to stay informed about these shifts when planning your gaming adventures.
  • Closures and Openings: Some venues, like Lasseters Wharf Casino in Queenstown, have closed their doors in recent years, while new venues continue to emerge. These changes are influenced by market dynamics and local regulations, highlighting the ever-changing nature of the gaming industry.

Read: Shogun Pokies

Stay Informed and Gamble Responsibly

Before planning a visit to any pokies venue, it’s essential to check the latest information regarding operating hours, available games, and any specific health and safety measures in place, especially considering the potential impact of unforeseen events such as pandemics.

Moreover, responsible gambling practices are of paramount importance. Always gamble within your means and set limits to ensure that gaming remains an enjoyable form of entertainment. If you or someone you know is experiencing gambling-related issues, there are resources and support services available to provide assistance and guidance.

Remember, the world of pokies gaming is not just about chance; it’s also about having a great time in vibrant and dynamic venues.

Whether you’re spinning the reels for fun or seeking fortune, these iconic pokies venues in the North and South Islands have something special to offer. Enjoy your gaming adventures responsibly, and may the odds be ever in your favor.

About the author

Mamta Sharma is an influential figure in the realm of online gaming in New Zealand. With over eight years of expertise, she holds a prominent position as a content strategist at PokiesMobile NZ. Mamta's journey, starting from the bustling streets of Mumbai to the serene landscapes of New Zealand, has given her a unique perspective on the world of online casinos. Her articles are a blend of insightful data analysis, engaging narratives, and a sprinkle of her vibrant personality. Outside the virtual casino environment, Mamta is a fervent yoga practitioner and an advocate for holistic wellness. Her writings, enriched by her diverse experiences, resonate with both newbie gamers and seasoned players.

Mamta Sharma

Mamta Sharma is an influential figure in the realm of online gaming in New Zealand. With over eight years of expertise, she holds a prominent position as a content strategist at PokiesMobile NZ. Mamta's journey, starting from the bustling streets of Mumbai to the serene landscapes of New Zealand, has given her a unique perspective on the world of online casinos. Her articles are a blend of insightful data analysis, engaging narratives, and a sprinkle of her vibrant personality. Outside the virtual casino environment, Mamta is a fervent yoga practitioner and an advocate for holistic wellness. Her writings, enriched by her diverse experiences, resonate with both newbie gamers and seasoned players.