Gambling customs and traditions are special ways that people in New Zealand play games that involve chance or skill. These traditions can be very old, like traditional Māori games, or newer, like playing pokies in bars. They are not just for fun; they are also a part of what makes New Zealand’s culture unique.
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Gambling customs, deeply rooted in human history and found across diverse cultures and regions (Custer & Milt, 1985), are practices that exhibit varying levels of acceptance in different societies. In the contemporary world, many countries openly and extensively engage in these customs, with some even considering them a cherished part of their national heritage (Raylu & Oei, 2002).
This international prevalence of gambling customs, observed in over 90 countries with legalized gambling (Lesieur & Rosenthal, 1991), presents a shared cultural phenomenon and, at times, a collective challenge that transcends national borders (Lamberton & Oei, 1997).
Gambling customs and traditions cover a wide range of activities, from traditional Māori games to modern games like lotteries and online gambling. But why are these traditions important to New Zealand’s culture? There are several important reasons:
- Cultural Heritage: These traditions are a way to remember and celebrate the past. For example, traditional Māori games have been passed down for a long time and help keep Māori culture alive.
- Bringing People Together: Many of these traditions are a way for people to come together and have fun. Whether it’s playing cards with friends or going to the races, gambling often helps people connect and have a good time.
- Money Matters: Gambling is also a big business in New Zealand. It makes a lot of money that can be used for important things like healthcare and schools.
- Different Strokes: New Zealand has many different regions, and each one has its own way of doing things, including gambling. Exploring these regional differences helps us understand New Zealand’s culture better.
- Rules and Regulations: There are also laws that govern gambling in New Zealand. These laws try to make sure people have fun but also stay safe.
In this exploration of gambling customs and traditions in New Zealand, we’ll look at how people in different regions play these games, where these traditions come from, why they matter culturally, and how gambling is changing in New Zealand.
Gambling Customs and Traditions in Different NZ Regions
In New Zealand, different areas have their own special ways of gambling. Auckland has fancy casinos, while Northland likes traditional Māori games. This shows how gambling customs change from place to place in New Zealand.
In the following guide, I will try to explain all the gambling customs and traditions in different New Zealand regions.
1. Gambling Customs in Auckland
For many years, gambling has been a popular hobby in Auckland, New Zealand. It allows people to socialise, have fun, and possibly earn money. Depending on the form of gambling and the culture of the persons engaged, Auckland has a wide range of gambling practices and traditions.
Here are some of the most common gambling customs and traditions in Auckland:
- Pokies: Pokies (slot machines) are the most popular form of gambling in New Zealand, and Auckland is no exception. Pokies are often played in groups, and it is common to see people sharing wins and losses. It is also common for Aucklanders to play pokies while drinking alcohol.
- Table games: Table games such as blackjack, roulette, and baccarat are also popular in Auckland. Table game players are often more serious gamblers than those who play poker, and they may use different strategies to try to win.
- Horse racing: Horse racing is a major sport in New Zealand, and there are several racecourses in Auckland where people can bet on races. Aucklanders who bet on horse racing often follow the sport closely and have a favourite horse or jockey. It is also common for Aucklanders to bet on horse races with their friends and family.
- Sports betting: Sports betting is also popular betting in Auckland, especially in rugby, cricket, and football. Aucklanders who bet on sports often have a good understanding of the sport they are betting on. They may also follow the advice of experts when making their bets.
2. Customs in Wellington
Wellington, as the capital city of New Zealand, adheres to the national regulations and customs related to gambling. Gambling in Wellington, as in the rest of New Zealand, is regulated by the Department of Internal Affairs.
Here are some key aspects of gambling customs and traditions in Wellington:
- Traditional Forms: While modern gambling establishments like casinos are prevalent, traditional forms of gambling, such as local card games and housie (bingo-like game), continue to be enjoyed in Wellington and across New Zealand.
- Pokies (Slot Machines): Pokies, or slot machines, are popular in the city and can be found in various bars and gaming establishments.
- Lotteries: Lotteries are another common form of gambling in Wellington, offering a chance for people to try their luck and win prizes.
- Wellington Cup Carnival: The Wellington Cup Carnival is a unique blend of horse racing and socializing, making it a distinctive cultural tradition in the city. It reflects the city’s love for both gambling and social gatherings. Participants can bet on their favourite horses while soaking in the lively atmosphere of the event, creating a memorable experience that showcases Wellington’s rich cultural heritage.
- Betting & Entertainment: This annual event is a significant part of the city’s cultural calendar. During the Wellington Cup Carnival, residents and visitors come together not only to enjoy horse racing but also to socialize and engage in various forms of entertainment.
Learn More – Best Venues to Play Pokies in Wellington NZ
3. Gambling Customs in Christchurch
There are a number of gambling events that are held in Christchurch, New Zealand, throughout the year. Some of the most popular events include:
- Riccarton Park Racecourse: Riccarton Park Racecourse is one of the most popular racecourses in New Zealand, and it hosts a number of major races throughout the year, including the Christchurch Cup and the New Zealand Trotting Cup.
- Addington Raceway: Addington Raceway is another popular racecourse in Christchurch, and it hosts a number of harness racing races throughout the year.
- Canterbury Casino: Canterbury Casino is the largest casino in the South Island of New Zealand, and it offers a variety of gambling games, including pokies, table games, and sports betting.
- New Zealand Cup and Show: The New Zealand Cup and Show is a major agricultural and racing event that is held in Christchurch each year. The event includes a number of horse races, as well as other agricultural events.
- Christchurch Casino: Christchurch Casino is a prominent venue offering various table games such as blackjack, baccarat, roulette, and poker. It’s a hub for those who enjoy traditional casino games and offers a thrilling experience for gamblers in the city
- Community Gaming: Christchurch hosts various community gaming events where locals come together for friendly gambling competitions. These events can range from card games to sports betting, contributing to the city’s vibrant gambling culture.
In addition to these major events, there are also a number of smaller gambling events that are held in Christchurch throughout the year. These events may be held at local bars, clubs, or other venues.
4. Gambling Customs in Queenstown
Located on the picturesque shores of Lake Wakatipu and surrounded by the stunning Remarkables Range, Queenstown stands as the Southern Hemisphere’s foremost alpine and lakeside resort destination throughout all four seasons.
For those inclined toward gambling, Queenstown provides a range of options through its casinos, gaming establishments, and racing venues, offering a diverse selection of games to cater to your betting preferences. Whether you’re interested in trying your luck with casino games or placing bets on horse or dog races, Queenstown offers opportunities to test your fortune.
- Historical Betting: In the 19th century, gambling was a popular pastime in Queenstown and New Zealand as a whole. People would place bets on various activities, including cards, athletic competitions, and most notably, horse racing.
- Māori Traditions: The Māori, New Zealand’s indigenous people, had their own traditional gambling activities, which played a role in communal harmony. These activities included gambling on cards and various types of games.
- Modern Casinos: Today, Queenstown offers modern casino gaming experiences. Casinos like SkyCity Queenstown provide a wide range of games, including roulette, blackjack, poker, and slot machines. These casinos are known for their entertainment options, making them popular destinations for visitors seeking a night of gaming and fun.
- Diverse Betting Options: In addition to traditional casino games, Queenstown also offers opportunities to bet on horse races and dog races, catering to a variety of gambling preferences. These events provide an exciting and social aspect to betting in the region.
5. Gambling Customs in Otago
The Otago region in New Zealand has a rich history of gambling traditions, influenced by the broader New Zealand gambling culture. Here are some key aspects of gambling traditions in Otago:
- Horse Racing: Horse racing has been a prominent gambling tradition in Otago, as it has been in many parts of New Zealand. People in Otago have historically enjoyed placing bets on horse races, which often involve not only gambling but also the excitement of the race itself.
- Organized Sports Betting: In addition to horse racing, organized sports betting has also been part of Otago’s gambling tradition. Sports such as cricket, boxing, and rowing have attracted support and betting activities in the region, contributing to the local gambling culture.
- Modern Gambling Options: While traditional forms of gambling like horse racing and sports betting have historical significance in Otago, the region also offers modern gambling options. Casinos and gaming venues, including electronic gaming machines and table games, provide contemporary gambling experiences for both locals and visitors.
- Contemporary Gambling Discussions: It’s worth noting that contemporary discussions around gambling in Otago and New Zealand as a whole often involve regulatory considerations, social impacts, and responsible gambling practices, reflecting the evolving nature of the industry.
In summary, Otago’s gambling traditions encompass a mix of historical practices such as horse racing and sports betting, alongside modern casino and gaming options.
Variations of Gambling in Different NZ Regions
There are a number of variations in gambling in different regions of New Zealand. These variations are influenced by a number of factors, including the culture, history, and demographics of each region.
Here are some examples:
North Island: Pokies (slot machines) are the most popular form of gambling in the North Island, followed by table games such as blackjack and roulette. Horse racing is also popular in the North Island, but not to the same extent as in the South Island.
South Island: Horse racing is the most popular form of gambling in the South Island, followed by pokies and table games. Harness racing is also popular in the South Island, especially in Canterbury and Otago.
Māori: Māori people have several traditional gambling games, such as Poi Taua, which is played with two sticks and a string. Māori people also enjoy gambling on modern games such as pokies, table games, and horse racing.
Pacific Island: Pacific Island people also have several traditional gambling games, such as Pasifika dice and Tongan roulette. Pacific Island people also enjoy gambling on modern games such as pokies, table games, and horse racing.
Interesting Read: Pokies In Wellington
Q. How does culture affect gambling?
Ans – Culture has a significant impact on gambling practices and attitudes. Different cultures have different perspectives on gambling, which influence the types of games played, the frequency with which they are played, and whether gambling is considered a social pastime or an unsafe behaviour. Gambling can be encouraged or discouraged by cultural norms, beliefs, and traditions.
Q. What are the cultural factors of gambling?
Ans – Cultural factors encompass various elements that influence gambling. These include:
Beliefs: Cultural beliefs regarding luck, fate, and chance can shape gambling choices, including superstitions guiding gameplay.
Traditions: Cultural traditions and rituals often incorporate gambling, such as betting during festivals or celebrations, making it an integral part of cultural practices.
Social Acceptance: The degree of social acceptance of gambling varies across cultures, with some societies viewing it as a central aspect of social gatherings, while others may consider it socially unacceptable.
Religious Views: Religious beliefs strongly impact attitudes towards gambling. While some religions strictly forbid gambling, others permit specific forms of it, reflecting diverse perspectives on this activity.
Q. What is the cultural perspective of gambling?
Ans – The cultural perspective of gambling means looking at gambling from the viewpoint of a particular culture’s beliefs and customs.
Different cultures have varying opinions about gambling.
Some cultures consider it just a fun activity, like playing a game.
Others see it as a big problem linked to addiction and social troubles.
This perspective also decides if gambling is part of cultural events and traditions.
Q. Is gambling a cultural thing?
Ans – Indeed, gambling is a part of some cultures. It’s connected to how they do things, what they believe in, and their special ways of doing it. But remember, not all cultures see it the same way. For some, it’s really important, but for others, not so much. So, it’s all about what people in that culture think and do.
When we look at the different ways people gamble in New Zealand regions, we see that it reflects the unique culture and history of each place. Whether it’s playing pokies in Auckland or enjoying horse racing in Canterbury, these gambling customs are like stories that tell us about the people who live there.
Understanding and respecting these traditions not only helps us appreciate the diversity of New Zealand but also shows how games connect with society. Whether it’s for fun, bonding with others, or keeping traditions alive, gambling in New Zealand regions is a fascinating part of the local culture.
It’s like taking a journey through the heart of each region, where chance, culture, and tradition come together.