In New Zealand, an estimated 20,000 pokies machines exist in over 1,500 venues ranging from hotels, casinos and pubs, bringing in over NZ$2 billion in revenues a year as of 2008. That was tenfold in revenues compared to 1985, showing that the industry has really found a niche in New Zealand’s gambling culture as well as in its overall economic environment.
Since 2008, however, those numbers have begun to fluctuate, with statistics by New Zealand’s Department of Internal Affairs reporting that revenues have started to decease 10-20% a year on average. This is despite efforts by the New Zealand government to allow newly installed Pokies machines in places such as Skycity Auckland to keep the industry thriving.
But it’s not that the industry isn’t thriving anymore, it is the methods in which people paly their pokies games are changing. Since 2008, the Internet of Culture in playing Pokies has changed drastically due to the digital age becoming more popular than ever. Since the year, more and more online Pokies games such as Ruby Fortune Review, Cabaret Club and Mummy’s Gold have been popping up to provide players the same gambling experiences they desire but in a much easier and convenient form.
Players in New Zealand are no longer limited to playing Pokies at set locations. They now have the opportunity to play at home on their Mac or PC, as well as on their Android or Mac-based OS from a notebook, tablet and even smartphone, using payment services such as PayPal, Visa credit cards and other online money transfers to make bets and gather winnings. This has open new doors for players as well as the private industry to expand the Pokies gaming experience away from hardware-based machines to software-based programs.
Kiwis can still enjoy the same thrill playing on a mobile device as they would playing at a casino, and many bloggers even think it’s a better experience because there are more friendly and customized user experiences for gaming, quicker ways for engaging in multi-player and personalized games, and faster ways for cashing out. Software-based programs offer New Zealand-based players an alternative to engaging in their favorite hobbies, much like many online services do in other gaming and service-based sectors.
Pokies is here to stay in New Zealand and isn’t disappearing. The methods by which people are engaging in playing Pokies is changing, however, prompting some casinos to re-think their strategies in the market. Some casinos are reportedly thinking of combining software-based Pokies experiences in combination through hardware-based operations by offering certain deals and more frequent paybacks then before; however concrete details on such developments are reportedly still under discussion, according to buzz in the industry.
The new Zealand government meanwhile does not want to lose out to the private sector where some games offered are not New Zealand-based, prompting speculation in the market as to what the government will do. For many industry analysts, it only makes sense that more incentives are given to locals from the government as a means to keep the traditional means alive and thriving if local economic support from the industry is a concern. For the government, it makes money either way from Pokies due to taxes but online gaming could go unnoticed at times when it comes to smaller players, and could also lose out to international-based competitors, leading to a decline in revenues collected from the industry.
The government in New Zealand should think of a strategy that can help spread funding from money generated from online Pokies. Essentially, advertisers and other support that is behind the scenes with Pokies games will just switch their formats to online advertising, just as many companies have with their products and services, so the government should think no differently. In terms of the local economy in New Zealand or even in Australia, losing out on casino-based profits also means potentially losing local workers in casinos, which further leads to a decline workforce and revenues from taxes. The government needs to think about this and how it can work with the industry to ensure economic benefits for the local economy before it is too late.
Some reports in the industry, however, are stating that the government is not worried about the shift of Pokies gaming to online services as many tourists who go to New Zealand play on land-based machines and enjoy the entertainment aspect attached. This is particularly true, according to many, when it comes to Chinese tourists visiting the island, as gambling in China is against the law with the exception of Macau.
However, as mentioned above revenues from land-based operations are on the decline, which proves that New Zealand and eve Australia cannot simply rely on outside influence to maintain the industry. Casinos already know this and try to combat it with other events associated with their gambling services, but even that is no guarantee.
The Internet of Culture is indeed changing the direction of how New Zealanders play their Pokies games and it will be interesting to see how the culture develops in the future. The online Pokies industry is worth well into the billions of dollars and is a market both gamers and developers can benefit from. Many analysts think it is a good thing, however, the traditional-based industries are getting challenged, as this will push for progress in the industry as well as bring about more chances of gamers winning incentives, rewards and other prizes for playing. However, unless this progress is quickened and brought to the point where players undeniably believe there are more incentives at land-based operations, expect to continue seeing Pokies players combat online gaming formats on their mobile devices while they wander down the street instead of at high-thrill casino establishments.