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 integral to Kiwi culture, offering excitement and potential fortunes to those who dare to try their luck.

This blog will take you on a journey through 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 explore the most renowned pokies venues in the North and South Islands, highlighting their distinctive features, gaming offerings, and what makes them a must-visit for anyone passionate about the thrill of the reels.

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, is 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 offering diverse gaming options to cater to every visitor’s preferences.

The venue boasts a sprawling gaming floor with various pokies, slot machines, and electronic gaming machines.

Machines feature various themes, jackpots, and betting options to suit 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 a theatre hosting world-class performances and shows.

The Sky Tower, an iconic landmark adjacent to the casino, allows visitors to enjoy panoramic city views.

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 ideal for both casual players and dedicated gamers.

In addition to pokies, Christchurch Casino features various traditional table games. Blackjack, roulette, poker, and baccarat are 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 strongly emphasizes 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 casino’s excitement.

Finally, while situated on the South Island, Christchurch Casino 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, 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 become a popular entertainment destination for Hamilton residents and 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 various 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 poker machines, offering 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 players and those looking to try their luck.

Apart from gaming, SkyCity Hamilton is well-equipped with dining establishments, bars, and lounges serving various 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.

SkyCity Hamilton’s central location, diverse gaming options, and multifaceted entertainment offerings have cemented its status as a popular and thriving entertainment hub 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 is a unique and iconic pokies venue on New Zealand’s South Island.

What sets this establishment apart is its gaming offerings and 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 from the late 19th century.

The building exudes old-world charm, 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 traditional table games like blackjack, roulette, poker, and baccarat. The elegant and refined ambience of the gaming floor adds to the allure of trying your luck at these classic casino games.

Unique Aspects and Events

Dunedin Casino’s unique aspects and occasional events make it truly special. As mentioned earlier, the historical setting 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 gaming; its historical setting and wide range of gaming options take you on a journey through time.

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 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, a few other notable poker venues in the region are worth mentioning.

Although it has historical significance, one such venue is Lasseters Wharf Casino.

Please note that the status and importance 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 any gaming venue’s current status and offerings before planning a visit.

Read also: 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 various factors, including regulatory changes, shifts in consumer behaviour, and economic conditions.

This section will delve into some 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.

Regulation changesThe NZ government updates gambling regulations to ensure responsible gambling and protect consumers, which may impact pokies venues.

The New Zealand government regularly reviews and updates gambling regulations to ensure responsible gambling and protect consumers.

Regulatory changes can impact pokies venues’ availability, operation, and advertising. The New Zealand government regularly reviews and updates gambling regulations to ensure responsible gambling and protect consumers.

Regulatory changes can impact pokies venues’ availability, operation, and advertising. The NZ government updates gambling regulations to ensure responsible gambling and protect consumers, which may impact pokies venues.

The New Zealand government regularly reviews and updates gambling regulations to ensure responsible gambling and protect consumers.

Regulation changes can impact pokies venues’ availability, operation, and advertising. The New Zealand government regularly reviews and updates gambling regulations to ensure responsible gambling and protect consumers.

Regulation changes can impact pokies venues’ availability, operation, and advertising.

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 increase 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; smaller gaming venues, clubs, and pubs offer poker machines.

Demand and local regulations influence opening new venues or expanding existing ones.

New openings may occur in response to consumer demand shifts or regional 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.

Read also: Gaming Lounges in Auckland


In exploring 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 the timeless elegance of the Southern Cross Hotel complements gaming. 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 also: 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 unique to offer.

Enjoy your gaming adventures responsibly, and may the odds ever be in your favour.

Related Reads:

8 Most Popular Pokies in Christchurch City

About the author

Mamta Sharma

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.

Outside the virtual casino environment, Mamta is a also yoga practitioner and an advocate for holistic wellness.