Playing at an online casino is immensely enjoyable, although there can be quite a lot to learn when you first start out. Our top tips are designed to demystify the experience for you, and to help you to get started so you can start to enjoy playing online pokies and other great games straight away.
All of the online casinos we feature here accept New Zealand players, and there is no restriction at all on being able to play at them perfectly legally. As a consequence, a number of online casino sites go out of their way to cater for Kiwis, and we would always recommend choosing one of these.
For a start, online pokies are by the most popular games at New Zealand casinos, and so the sites we feature all have a large selection of these across all categories, including classic poker machine games, popular video pokies, themed games and the biggest progressive jackpot slots as well.
We also list sites where you can play in NZD$ and that offer a good range of payment methods, including POLi and PayPal, e-wallets and credit/debit cards. In addition, we try to find sites where you can contact the casino via a local, toll free telephone number wherever possible.
Being able to play safely and securely is naturally an issue that concerns us all, and so we only recommend sites that you can trust.
We do this by only featuring online casinos that are audited by an independent, third party testing agency, like eCogra, IGL or TST, who will certify that a site’s games are fair and that their software is not only virus-free, but also secure, so that your personal information remains safe. At our sites, the RTP (or payout percentages) of games is also accessible, as are their polices on privacy, problem gambling and underage gambling.
One of the best things about registering at a new online casino is that you get to take advantage of a Welcome Bonus, an incentive that casinos offer players to encourage them to sign up. These come in a variety of shapes and forms, so it’s important to choose a signup offer that’s right for you.
Most sites will offer a form of deposit match bonus, where the casino matches the first deposit you make. Most of these are 100% matches, which double your bankroll, but in some cases they can be as high as 200%. Sometimes you pick up matches on a series of deposits, not just the first one.
A number of sites also give you a no deposit bonus, just for registering for an account and without the need to deposit any of your own cash. This sort of bonus will usually come in the form of free spins, or perhaps free play for a limited period of time, with a cap on the winnings you can make. However, these winnings will usually be credited to your bonus account and so you can use them to play once you make your first deposit.
It’s always important to take note of the wagering requirements that come with a Welcome Bonus. This is the amount of money (usually expressed as a multiple of the bonus you received e.g., 40x) that you need to wager before you can cash out any of the bonus you were given.
For many players, progressive jackpot pokies are the biggest draw at online casinos, as unlike most other games, where you tend to win and build up your bankroll only gradually, with progressive jackpot slots you can win a fortune on a single spin.
Progressive jackpot slots are networked, which means that every version of the game in every online casino is linked, with a percentage of each losing spin going into the central prize pool. This is why progressive jackpots grow so quickly and reach such astronomical amounts. Most games will have a minimum size for the biggest jackpot — some starting at $1 million — and there is no limit as to how large they can grow.
All of the major game producers have their own networks, and you will find all of these in our list of featured sites.
Playing online is, in the end, about enjoyment, and getting as much game time for your money as you can. A key to this is effective bankroll management, and setting yourself limits as to how much time you want to play for, or how much money you want to risk, in any one gaming session; and of course, sticking to these limits is crucial. It’s also important to know the rules of the games you play thoroughly, as well as the odds of the various bets it offers, as you then understand what sort of risk and reward is involved, and how much value you’re getting every time you play.
One of the most important elements for most people playing at online casinos is the security of their personal information and how financial transactions are carried out. That’s why we only feature casinos that offer players P128-bit SSL digital encryption for all banking, so that you can be sure your private information is indeed kept private.
If you’re to have confidence in an online casino, they should also have a private policy that tells you explicitly what they do with the personal information that you share with them, including where and how that information is stored, and for what purpose and with who they might share it with. If this information isn’t readily accessible at online casino site, we would always advise against playing there.
Another way to protect yourself when playing online is to choose a payment method that doesn’t require your financial information to be stored by the casino. Using an e-wallet like EcoPayz, Skrill or Neteller, or an electronic fund transfer systems such as POLi as PayPal, means that they act as an intermediary and you don’t have to store any vital information like credit card numbers on the casino’s servers.
Online pokies offer players far better RTP (return to player) rates than you get if you play in a club or land-based casino. On average, the RTP is around 95%, although on some pokies games it’s higher than this. In essence, this means you get more spins per dollar playing online than you do elsewhere.
When you’re choosing games, it’s also important to understand what is meant by House Edge — this is the advantage that the casino has over the player on any specific wager, owing to the laws of probability. Some bets are very distinctly weighted in the casino’s favour, while with others the player has a much better chance. For instance, prop bets in craps have a very large House Edge (i.e., statistically, the player has a far lower chance of winning), while some video poker games have a negligible House Edge and so the player has a greater probability of coming out on top. Before you play a game, therefore, look at the House Edge of not only the whole game, but of specific bets as well, as this can help you to determine how you play and the wagering strategies you should adopt.
There are a couple of ways that you can pick up free spins at our featured sites. Some will give you free spins as part of a no deposit bonus, for instance, or you might be awarded them as part of your signup offer. Alternatively, to celebrate the release of a new game, or a big sporting event or holiday, a lot of online casinos will give away free spins as part of a promotion, and this lets you try the game and bet the max on every spin. At the majority of our sites, you can also play pokies for free in practice mode.
Free spins (or a free play bonus) also give you a chance to try out a whole range of table games for free before deciding to play for real money. This is really helpful if you want to get to grips with a game you’ve never played before but have always wanted to try, or it can give you a chance to try out a new wagering strategy without it actually costing you anything.
Your enjoyment of online casino games will always be greater if you have a solid understanding of how the game is played, how to place a bet and, most importantly, which bets offer you the best value. These are crucial factors if you want to develop a considered wagering strategy and look after your bankroll.
For online pokies players, for instance, choose an appropriate coin size that lets you bet the maximum number of coins and paylines on every spin. If you’re playing blackjack, choose a table where you can comfortably afford the minimum bet, while in roulette have a strategy in mind as to whether you’re going to focus on inside or outside bets
In this way, you can gain the maximum enjoyment, as you’ll be able to get the maximum number of spins or play the maximum number of hands, for your dollar.
As the number of games increases, new developers enter the market, and the accessibility of online casinos increases through developing technology, this is a great time for online gaming. No matter whether it’s pokies, card or dice games, or progressive jackpot slots, you’ll always find a game that interests you, at a site that meets your needs. Explore our great range of featured online casinos for a rich gaming experience and enjoy the best online games by the best producers in the business.