The History of Pokies Games in New Zealand
As a gamer, you most likely haven’t stopped to consider the history of the pokie games you love so much. You aren’t alone; not many people do. However, to appreciate the games that make you so excited, it’s vital to know how the pokie games in New Zealand became popular. Hence, the need for this article.
Even though online pokies didn’t start until late into the 20th century, the game of poker has always been a global phenomenon. From the first machine by Charles Fey in 1895 to the internet bubble that reinvented the game with software, the Liberty Bell has been an instant hit.
Though, before we start delving into the rich history of pokies in New Zealand, let’s understand the word ‘Pokie’ itself.
What are Pokies?
New Zealand and Australia are most likely the only two countries that refer to poker as ‘Pokie.’ A really ‘Aussie’ thing to do, right?
At the beginning of the game, they weren’t called pokies. Instead, the original machines designed by Charles Fey were called the Liberty Bell machines. A profit from the United States, the machine quickly became popular – drawing the attention of governments worldwide.
At the outset, playing the game involved money. However, the governments soon rallied against the idea, banning gambling for cash. Subsequently, innovators decided the betting could be for other things. So, they introduced gums, fruits, and other minor things as rewards for winning.
In no time, fruits became somewhat of an emblem for the game. Different types of fruits were used, and the name pokies (fruit machine) surfaced. The Kiwis began the trend.
Also, the word ‘Pokie’ most likely stuck as the nickname for slot machines because you’ll have to poke at buttons on the earliest forms of the machine. And while there have been several innovations in slot machines, the poking attribute remains (alongside other features).
What Made Pokies Popular in New Zealand
The history of pokie games in New Zealand began in 1991. As the century was rounding up, gambling was gaining more popularity. Two years before, the NZ government had passed laws that put government institutions in charge of gambling clubs worldwide.
Gambling became popular in the country, and more electronic betting machines were introduced to game clubs. As a result, the pokie machines saw operations in restricted areas as they were still called then. The history of pokie machines remained the same through this period, until 2003 when another significant event occurred.
Six new gambling machines found their way to some of the largest casinos in places like Dunedin, Auckland, Hamilton, Christchurch, and two in the betting houses at Queenstown.
The advent of the new pokie machines in New Zealand moved the industry forward. More people took an interest in the game, and fans played more, thanks to access. In addition, the game was very easy to understand, resulting in more fans.
Soon, the government recognized the potential in the industry. Furthermore, because gambling was only legalized in government-owned infrastructure, deliberate efforts by the government spread the game across the country. As a result, Pokies NZ soon became a major tourist attraction for the country, with visitors riding the trend as much as possible.
The past 18 years have seen incredible growth in the casino industry in New Zealand. Though the state still controls all casinos based in New Zealand, the industry has witnessed an incredible shift, especially with the internet. The exciting game being enjoyed by locals and visitors across hotels and pubs moved online successfully.
Online gaming isn’t an entirely new concept in NZ. The first online pokies in NZ was Microgaming, which came into the scene in 1994. The company had several games up its sleeve, which are used to lure players online. However, despite the incentives, Microgaming had a hard time thriving in the NZ market alongside a few other pokie developers. Nevertheless, the company was able to keep afloat thanks to the foreign audience it worked on accruing.
The years after Microgaming’s introductions saw disruptive software providers enter the scene. But, the government’s hold on online casinos presented the same problems Microgaming faced to the new guys. The government’s run online pokie NZ is more like the National Lottery Website. The games on the platform are those legalized by the government – warding off competition.
Hence, the only feasible way for NZ citizens to enjoy unrestricted online pokies is to leverage infrastructures abroad.
Owing to this, local gamers are still restricted to gaming pokie machines at government-approved places. At the NZ pokies machine, the players’ information is displayed. Also, the player’s total gambling spend is revealed per time on the machine. The NZ government employs these measures to make citizens gamble responsibly.
As crucial as gambling responsibly is, the government’s strict control over the industry is barring the ultimate excitement players get from the game.
The Evolution of Pokies in 2022
Irrespective of what the present holds for pokies – online and offline, the future looks exciting and promising. More games are popping up, more reals, etc. And with the strides in the online pokies industry, there’s more to come.
As regards the name, there’s probably not going to be much difference in the status quo. The history of pokies in Australia and New Zealand will cause locals to continue to call it that, while the rest of the world will call it slot machines.
Furthermore, since the government isn’t ready to cede control of the gambling industry, players will need to enjoy the innovation within the legislative policies. Since the boom of online gaming, the government has done somewhat incredibly with providing the online version of the slots. The electronic games that kiwi players enjoy now reside on iOS, windows, and android. Some games, however, have apps, while others don’t. Hence, players can access the games either through their browsers or by using the app. The ease with which pokies NZ can be accessed online makes gameplay even better. You don’t have to go to a physical location to play on the machines. There are more innovations to come in the pokies industry in 2022.