For new players, or even more experienced ones, the world of online casinos can perhaps at times be baffling and a little confusing. There are so many sites and games to choose from, and so much new terminology to get your head around, that it can be a bit much. That’s why we’ve produced this handy guide for New Zealand online casino players to help you get the most out of your gaming experience.
Although it’s not legal for an online casino to be operated from within New Zealand, there are absolutely no restrictions on players who live here being able to access sites that are located offshore. Therefore, there are plenty of sites that are set up to cater specifically for Kiwis and it’s useful if you’re able to recognise the sort of site that is going to give New Zealand players a quality gaming experience.
First of all, a New Zealand online casino will specialise in pokies, and feature a huge selection of games of all types, from old-school one-arm bandits, to the latest video pokies, to massive progressive jackpot games, all produced by the industry’s leading developers.
You should also be able to manage your account and make deposits and withdrawals in NZD$, with payment methods that are easily accessible for New Zealand players, such as POLi, PayPal, Paysafe Card and leading e-wallets. Customer support should be easily accessible 24/7, ideally with a toll-free or local call phone number, or Skype account.
There are a number of easy checks that you can make regarding an online casino’s reliability and trustworthiness, and whether it is likely to offer a safe and secure gaming environment.
First, ensure that any online casino you choose has gaming software by a respected and reputable industry leader. Look out for names like Microgaming, Playtech, NetEnt, Betsoft Gaming as a guarantee not only of high quality gaming action but also software that is safe to use.
Next, check for accreditation by an independent, third-party testing agency, such as eCogra, IGL or TST. Not only do these international agencies verify the fairness of an online casino’s games (including the payout percentages) but they publish the monthly results on the site itself. Think twice about playing at a site that does not have or publish these regular reports.
A trustworthy and reputable online casino will also have policies in place regrading privacy and security, problem gambling and underage gambling, and you should be able to access these easily.
Online casinos have a variety of different types of Welcome Bonuses on offer as a means of incentivising new players to choose their site over another. These can be a great way to give your bankroll a healthy boost and give you the chance to play with free casino money! Look for the online casino that offers the best bonus in terms of the games you want to play, how often you want to play, and the size of bankroll you want to invest.
The most common type of Welcome Bonus is where you receive a match on your deposits. At some sites, this might be a 100% match on your first one, but at others you can get match bonuses on subsequent deposits as well. However, with any bonus, it’s important to take note of the casino’s playthrough requirements, which put simply is the amount of money you have to wager before you can withdraw any of this bonus cash or the winnings you make from it.
At some online casinos, new players can collect a no deposit bonus simply by signing up for an account and without the need to make a deposit. In these cases, you get a set sum to play with for a limited period of time and you are then able to keep any winnings you make to keep playing with, once you make a first deposit into your account (although this will be subject to wagering requirements). Another form of Welcome Bonus is when new players are given free spins on a particular game, often in addition to a deposit match bonus.
Progressive jackpot pokies offer truly staggering sums as prizes and for many players these types of games are their primary reason for choosing a particular online casino over another. Different sites will be connected to different jackpot networks, depending on their software provider(s), but all of the major progressive jackpot pokies offer life-changing winning jackpots.
The jackpots are so huge on progressive pokies because you are playing as part of a global network where a percentage of every losing spin goes into the prize pool. This is why online progressive jackpots are so much bigger and build so more quickly than the smaller networks in land-based casinos.
For instance, in September 2015 a player in the UK scooped a world record jackpot of NZD$30.72 million playing Microgaming’s Mega Moolah at Betway Casino. Astonishingly, he won the randomly-triggered jackpot playing the game at only about 60 cents per spin, showing that even a modest investment has the potential for a huge jackpot win.
Having a clear strategy for managing your bankroll is the key to enjoying playing at an online casino. Setting yourself limits – whether they be daily, weekly or monthly – and sticking to them is very important, as is knowing when to walk away. In addition, having a clear approach to your wagering, combined with a good understanding of the basic strategy on different games, is also crucial. Elsewhere on this site, we offer a range of useful tips that deal with game strategy, bankroll management and good value bets that can help you to get the most out of your online gaming experience.
When you make any sort of online financial transaction, you want to do so with confidence and knowing that your personal and financial details are stored safely, used only for the purpose you intended, and are protected from hackers.
However, there are further steps that you can take to ensure your online security and you should therefore look for casinos that offer payment methods that don’t require your personal financial information to be stored by the casino itself. The most popular and effective ways of doing this are through e-wallets, such as Skrill or Neteller, pre-paid cards like Paysafe Card or electronic fund transfer systems such as POLi. You should only play at online casinos that offer these payment options as they add an additional layer of security to your transactions and don’t require you sharing your personal information directly with the site.
When you play pokies online, you get better payout percentages than you do when playing land-based games, as well as bigger and faster-growing progressive jackpots. Most online pokies will offer a payout percentage of 95%+, with some games even higher. The player return percentage on progressive jackpot games is lower, but for many players the smaller ongoing returns are worth the risk when combined with the possibility of an enormous jackpot.
For table game players, it’s important to understand the idea of House Edge and which games give the casino the smallest advantage, as well as which bets to take and which to avoid. In online craps, for instance, pass line bets and odds bets have a very small House Edge, while prop bets have a significantly larger edge and so don’t represent good value. Video poker also offers players better odds than most other games, with a payout percentage often as high as 99.8%, and if you have a good understanding of strategy, combined with good bankroll management, you can turn this to your advantage. In addition, the gamble option after a win in video poker (as with pokies) is one of the few bets you can make with no House Edge at all.
Get to know which games come with a large inbuilt House advantage and which ones are more favourable towards the player, and look at the specific bets within those games that offer the best value.
One of the great advantages of playing at an online casino is the opportunity you have to play games for free in demo mode. With a new release online pokie, for instance, this is a great way to explore the game and to discover whether it’s right for you, while at the same time letting you bet the max on every spin. As more and more online casinos now offer their games in Flash versions, this means that the latest pokies will always be accessible for free for you to trial. The only exceptions to this are progressive jackpot pokies, which can only be played for real money.
Most table games are also available in free demo versions and this provides an ideal opportunity to get to know more complex games such as craps and baccarat, or to refine your basic blackjack strategy, or to put a new bankroll management technique to the test in roulette. In this way, when you start to play for real money you can be more confident both of the rules and wagers on offer, but also how you are going to approach the game.
While online casino games are ultimately games of chance, your enjoyment will always be enhanced by an understanding of different games’ basic strategies and by having a clear method for managing your bankroll. Everyone is different in this regard, but thinking about these two important elements will mean that you don’t chase your losses or make them worse through poor wagers.
For online pokies players, for instance, choose games with a coin size that allows you to bet the max but doesn’t stretch you to do so. Set yourself some rules for a gaming session e.g., the proportion of your bankroll you are prepared to lose during that time, and then make sure that you aren’t wagering more than 1% of that amount per spin.
If you play online blackjack, ensure that you play at tables where the minimum bet size allows you to play at least 20 hands. For online roulette, have a clear betting system in mind (there are a multitude out there), while if you’re a video poker player, understanding House Edge and how many hands an hour you can expect to play will enable you to choose a coin size that better matches your bankroll.
Essentially, the enjoyment from online casino games comes from actually playing them, and so having a clear understanding of strategy, the best bets and how to manage your money will enable you to do so for longer.
Playing on the go, playing at home, and playing where and when you want to are the great appeal of online casinos. They offer a huge range of games, some familiar and some new, and it is straightforward to sample them for free before you start to wager for real. You have the opportunity at most reputable sites to manage how much you wager and it’s easy to set deposit limits if this is a concern. Overall, the best advice is to explore the many different options available and learn about the different types of games until you find the one that suits you best, and then enjoy!