Is New Zealand turning into a nation of gamblers?
March saw the second anniversary of lockdown due to the global pandemic. The last two years were a testing time for everyone, but the one thing it did for commerce was to accelerate the move to online. It was particularly prevalent for smaller retailers and local stores who had relied on passing trade and footfall and suddenly had to think, plan and master the digital world.
Businesses already established in the online world experienced a spike in activity and demand, particularly in the first year. Although as we moved into year two, firms started to return to relative normality.
So an increasing number of users turned online not just for retail but also for entertainment. Streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video experienced record growth in worldwide subscriptions.
An industry that saw a significant spike in demand has been gambling. An increasing number of New Zealanders are turning to online casinos and pokies for their entertainment. The chart below (Source: Google Trends) shows searches for online casino NZ on Google in New Zealand. An evident and considerable increase in demand can be seen in April 2020.
The graph shows a steady and consistent increase in searches before the first lockdown. As the lockdown came into force, there was a 400% increase in users searching for online casino nz. The demand declined a little, but interest has accelerated, as you can observe in the chart.
The popularity of casino games such as roulette hasn’t changed, remaining relatively consistent. Roulette attracts approximately 10,000 searches per month on Google (Source: Google Ads).
Similarly, the demand for blackjack has also remained remarkably consistent. Approximately 14,000 searches per month related to blackjack.
The search demand for slots is similar to the chart above, while searches for pokies have doubled (below). Searches directly relating to pokies have increased to around 22,000 per month,
Interestingly, the users’ searches tend to be for online casino NZ and casino NZ rather than just casino or online casinos. Users are essentially looking for casinos operating within New Zealand where they can play safely.
The locations that saw the most significant demand in New Zealand include Northland, Waikato, Manawatu, Hawke’s Bay, and Bay of Plenty.
So to answer the question in the title of this article, is NZ becoming a nation of casino loving gamblers?
It might well be. In terms of the total casino-related searches made last month on Google, there were 1.23 million searches. The numbers include searches for popular online casino brands but are still a significant number of searches based on a population of just over 4 million. We estimate that this number has doubled in two years.
We can see that the pandemic appears to have accelerated the popularity, so was it a result of people just looking for new outlets for leisure and entertainment or just plain boredom. There are restrictions on gambling in New Zealand, so users have driven much of this growth.
Staying Safe Online
In closing, we’d like to advise readers that you gamble responsibly and safely if you visit an online casino. Players should make sure they play at licensed casinos and be aware of tools such as deposit limits, cool off periods and exclusions to ensure they stay in control.