While the world is in betting turmoil over the rise of mobile casinos, New Zealand is slowly and, almost, silently going about its business making more and more money in the industry. According to the New Zealand Racing Board almost $NZ2 Billion was spent by gamblers in the country on betting alone during the last fiscal year.
Indeed, it was the country’s racing industry that did the best, with record profits of $144.1 million posted for the year, a rise of 13.2% on the previous year. What’s more, that’s with 2011’s figures being boosted by the Rugby World Cup that took place in New Zealand in the previous year.
Another big winner in the past year has been the New Zealand poker room, with many poker machines having been rolled out across the country by the gaming board. These machines may have been the major contributor to the board’s profit figures, although online betting must have also had a major influence.
New Zealand gambling laws allow for these machines, called pokies locally, to be installed across the country, and not just in casinos themselves. However, it is in casinos that the biggest expansion has happened, with Skycity Auckland recently being allowed to install a further 230 pokie machines and 40 new tables. In exchange, the casino will provide the city with a $402 million conference center.
It’s still land based gambling that brings in the most money in New Zealand, despite the current focus on mobile casinos and sportsbooks globally. Indeed, such is the excitement over the first mobile casinos in America that two rival operators – Caesars Interactive and Wynn – have agreed to get into bed together in order to provide online and mobile poker to New Jersey residents.
Back in New Zealand, and the $1.957 billion figure spent by bettors will surely get operators excited about the potential for growth in a sector still recovering towards its heyday.