Spending on poker machines has always been quite high in New Zealand’s gambling market. Over the past few decades, electronic gaming machines have become increasingly popular, but this year, the industry is seeing spending at a high.
From January to March of this year, New Zealand pokie players spent $5.2 million more than they did over the same period of time in 2010. The total pokies spending for the first quarter of the year was $205.1 million, marking one of the biggest increases since 2007.
One of the most interesting cases is the area of Christchurch. After the Earthquake, many of venues play all slots online casino housing poker machines were shut down. However, spending on poker machines increased by 3.2% to $19 million.
The massive jump in spending is particularly unusual because New Zealand seems to be going through a tough financial time. Between the weak economy and rising inflation costs, it would be thought that residents would spend less on recreational gambling, but the opposite has happened. As such, researchers want to discover the reason behind this.
According to Todd McLeay of the Lotteries Commission, he believes that pokies provide players with an optimistic outlook. While financial situations may look bleak, pokies provide momentary gleam of hope that a single spin could change a player’s life. In many cases, players do achieve that, as several jackpots worth thousands of dollars have been paid out over the course of the past year.
These numbers, however, are still not as shocking as they were half a decade ago. In 2004, pokie spending was at an all-time high. It was a year after the country’s Gambling Act was passed and gambling expenditures reached $1 billion. Spending has certainly settled down since then, putting to ease those concerned about rates of problem gambling – an analysts believe that the recent upswing is not a cause for alarm.
These numbers apply only to land-based poker machines and do not include money spent on online slots and pokies. They are currently not regulated by New Zealand’s government, and no data exists about spending on online games in particular. The government is looking at regulating the online market in the future, so similar data may be accumulated soon.
With so much money being spent on pokies, it is no wonder that they make up nearly 50% of all gambling expenditures across New Zealand. All other forms of gambling, including casino games and the lottery contribute the other half.