Latest New Zealand Gambling Stats Released

By Brian Cullingworth, Last updated Feb 25, 2018

General gambling spend up 5.7 percent year-on-year at NZ$ 2.33 billion

The New Zealand government’s Department of Internal Affairs has released national gambling statistics for 2016-2017 showing that punters spent NZ$ 2,334 million during the year, up 5.7 percent from the preceding year.

Spending on lotteries increased the most, up 26.8 percent, while non-casino gaming machine expenditure rose 3.1 percent. Racing and sports betting, and casinos recorded small decreases of 1.3 percent and 2.4 percent respectively.

Adjusting for the effects of both inflation and changes to New Zealand’s adult population, gambling expenditure increased by 1.1 percent, from an average of NZ$629 per person in 2016, to NZ$635 per person in 2016/17.

The take from TAB racing and sports betting decreased 1.3 percent from NZ$342 million in 2015/16 to NZ$338 million in 2016/17. Betting turnover fell due to fewer VIP customers betting into Australian hosted pools and a lack of major international sporting events, the Ministry reported. After adjusting for both inflation and changes in the adult population, expenditure on TAB racing and sports betting decreased from an average of NZ$97 per person in 2016 to NZ$92 per person in 2016/17.

The take from NZ Lotteries’ product sales increased 26.8 percent from NZ$437 million in 2015/16 to NZ$555 million in 2016/17 due to changes to Lotto games which delivered more winners and bigger Powerball prizes. After adjusting for both inflation and changes in the adult population, expenditure on NZ Lotteries’ products increased from an average of NZ$124 per person in 2015/16 to NZ$151 per person in 2016/17.

The take from non-casino gaming machines (“pokies”) increased 3.1 percent from NZ$843 million in 2015/16 to NZ$870 million in 2016/17. After adjusting for both inflation and changes in the adult population, however, expenditure on pokies decreased slightly from an average of NZ$240 per person in 2016 to NZ$237 per person in 2016/17. This coincides with declining numbers of venues and machines.

The take from the country’s six land casinos decreased 2.4 percent from NZ$586 million in 2015/16 to NZ$572 million in 2016/17 returning expenditure to pre-2015/16 trends. SkyCity, with four of New Zealand’s six casinos, said reduced international business turnover affected gambling revenue. After adjusting for both inflation and changes in the adult population, expenditure at casinos decreased from an average of NZ$167 per person in 2015/16 to NZ$156 per person in 2016/17.

Communities benefited from an estimated NZ$722 million, equal to 30.9 percent of gambling expenditure in 2016/17. Beneficiaries included:

• The New Zealand Racing Board allocated NZ$147 million, mostly to support racing club activities and infrastructure;
• The Lottery Grants Board approved NZ$235 million in grants for community services and projects;
• Non-casino gaming machine trusts raised an estimated NZ$291 million for authorised purposes;
• Non-casino gaming machine clubs raised an estimated NZ$45 million for their own purposes; and,
• Casinos paid NZ$4 million to their community trusts.

Pokie spending in pubs and clubs for the fourth quarter of 2017 was up NZ$5.2 million or 2.3 percent to NZ$228.8 million compared with NZ$223.6 million in December 2016. Spending in the 12 months ended 31 December 2017 rose NZ$25.2 million or 2.9 percent to NZ$883.4 million, up from NZ$858.2 million for the 12 months ending December 2016.

A summary of Key Performance Indicators of Class 4 Gambling for the year ending December 2017 shows:

• Gambling expenditure declined from 2008 to 2013, but has since increased each year since 2014;
• The number of venues and gaming machines continues to decline; and
• The Rate of Return and overall amount of return to the community continues to increase each year and is now the highest since 2012, with an estimated NZ$333.8 million returned to the community in the 12 months to December 2017.

Brian Cullingworth

Infopowa news was a staple of Casinomeister’s news from 2000 until 2019. Brian Cullingworth was the main writer, contributor, and was one of the most knowledgeable persons I have ever known involved in the online casino industry.

We first met in January 2001 at the ICE in London where I observed him going booth to booth interviewing online casino, software, and licensing jurisdiction representatives. Brian was also heavily involved with our forum as “Jetset“, he was involved as an informal consultant to eCOGRA, the OPA, and was a player advocate who assisted countless aggrieved players with his connections to industry folks. He also published “Casino Cautions” via Infopowa news for quite a number of years. These can be found in our news archives.

His passing in February 2019 was a dark day for us. He will be forever missed.

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