How Pokies Work in New Zealand? – Understand the Mechanism Behind Poker Machines

How Pokies Work in NZ Understand the Mechanism Behind Poker Machines
How Pokies Work in NZ Understand the Mechanism Behind Poker Machines

Pokies machines are gambling machines you can find at land casinos, pubs, clubs, and online casinos. In New Zealand, more than NZ$200 million is returned annually to the community from the proceeds of pokies machines, in pubs and hotels.  Traditionally Pokie machines are also gaming machines, poker machines, and/or one-armed bandits. The Department of Internal Affairs is responsible for regulating the gambling sector in New Zealand.

The pokies machines hosted in pubs, hotels, and clubs come under class four gambling in NZ. The class four gambling functions on a not-for-profit basis, with the overwhelming objective of generating revenue to return to communities via contestable grant processes. A proportion of the money punters lose on pokie machines in pubs and bars is distributed to community groups by the corporate societies.

Four Classes of Gambling

There are four classes of gambling in NZ along with casino gambling, sport and race betting, private gambling, and Lotto which are legal types of gambling under the Gambling Act 2003.

In New Zealand there is one pokie machine for every 211 people and on average each machine will take $125 out of its players pockets every day of the year. 

So this shows playing pokies excessively can make you lose more and winless and still if you wish to play pokies it’s better to understand and know how do pokies work in NZ.

Understand the mechanism of a pokie or gaming machine

Understand the mechanism of a pokie or gaming machine
Understand the mechanism of a pokie or gaming machine

Earlier pokie machines were a lot of mechanical means you had to operate manually. The old mechanical pokies used springs and tension to determine where the reels would stop. The new electronic machines use a much more sophisticated electronic method to determine the outcome of your spin.

The heart of the slot machine is the Random Number Generator (RNG). The RNG starts working as soon as the pokie machine starts, and spits out random numbers, usually between 0 and several million, at a rate of 300-500 per second. The RNG never stops working, and is not influenced by any outside factors, so the numbers are always totally random.

Modern pokies machines at casinos and online both work in the same way. When you place your bet and press the “Spin” button, the slot machine takes the next few values from the RNG and processes them through a complex computer program to determine the values that the reels should have.

Every Spin has equal change of winning the Jackpot

Even though this computation does take only a short time, the games are not pre-programmed to pay out at any set time. This means that every spin has the same chance of winning nothing as it does of winning the jackpot.

Suppose you play on a standard 5-line pokies machine. When you press the “Spin” button, the pokies machine will grab the next 5 numbers from the RNG and store these in its memory. The pokies machine uses the first number to determine the position of the first reel, the second number determines the position of the second reel, and so on.

How pokies work in NZ
How Pokies work in NZ

To work out the position, the computer divides the random number by a set value. This is usually a standard computer value of 16, 32, 64, etc. This works because of the way that computers mainly work in powers of 2, and this makes it easier for the computer to work out a value. As an example of how this works, say our random value is 3,486,421 and the computer divides by 128.

When you divide the random number by 128, you have a remainder of 81. The machine has set values of where to stop the reel for every value from 0 to 127 because these are the numbers that will be left over after dividing the random number by 128. This tells the machine to stop the reel at that position.

As there are is usually always more numbers to decide from then positions on the reels; each position on the reel has more than one number assigned to it. This means that the machines can be changed by changing the numbers that are assigned to each position on the reel. This is the only way that operators can control the way that the machines work.

How online pokies work in NZ?

How Online Pokies Work
How Online Pokies Work

Online pokies work just like a land-based casino. If you are looking to win cash amounts from pokies you should be a registered player at the casino and must have a real-money account. Also, you should use one of the trusted payment methods to make a cash deposit to your player account. Once it is over, you can select from any of the online pokies that can make a cash wager. The games in online pokies are controlled by random number generators, so it is not possible to speculate the result of any spin.

Different Payout percentage for each pokie

Each online pokies have a specific payout percentage. This information you can get from the online casino and many will put it right above the title of the game. By selecting a game with a high percentage, you can have an improved chance of winning on that pokie machine. Online pokies have spinning reels and paylines in which winning combinations will appear. When you win, you get the amount of the winning to your account. This you can cash out at any time just like in a land casino.

Although it is a fact that pokies are widely a game of chance, not skill or strategy, there are still some basic things you need to know to win. Understanding the rules of the game and basic betting strategy can have great help on how much you end up winning.

Controlled by Random Number Generators

Controlled by Random Number Generators
Controlled by Random Number Generators

Unlike classic pokies, online pokies are controlled by random number generators. This software deploys mathematical algorithms to determine random numbers, which determine the line-up of symbols on the reels after you spin.

Random number generators are the backbone of online pokies. They are extremely fair as gambling firms must go through governmental licensing as well as third-party certification to earn the credibility of pokies games on the market. These methods ensure that the numbers generated are truly random, and there is no unfair house edge to the game.

Look for a Greater payout percentage to play pokies

Look for a Greater payout percentage to play pokies
Look for a Greater payout percentage to play pokies

Payout percentages play a crucial role in determining the right pokies to play. By understanding payout percentages you can select which games are the most favorable to players in terms of how much money can be won.

The payout percentage of a game is a fixed number that represents the percentage of money that is paid back to players over the life of the game. For example, if a pokies game has a 97% payout percentage it means that 97% of the money deposited is paid back out in winnings. This means that a 97% payout percentage is more favorable than 90%, and would be the wiser choice to play.

Payout percentages remain the same for the entire life of the game, and they do not change. It does not necessarily mean that you will win exactly that percentage of money every time you play.

The Payout in the pokies machine

The payout in pokies
Major Million Classic Online Pokies

Pokies machines deliver a precise return percentage. It is somewhere around 95 percent. It means 95 percent of the money that goes into a pokies machine; is paid back out to the players and the casino keeps the rest.


But note that the return percentage is not the same as the payback; which is the actual amount of money you win or lose during each gambling session at a pokie machine. If you sat down at a pokie machine for eternity and pulled the lever an infinite amount of times; your payback percentage would be exactly 95 percent. Likewise, in a casino full of punters, the collective machines will pay back roughly 95 percent of the total money gambled during the course of a day.

Unfortunately, you are only one person and you don’t have infinite pulls. So your odds of winning are equally good or bad every pull. You could lose all day and that doesn’t mean the machine is rigged. Also, it doesn’t mean that the guy who wins the jackpot found the ‘loose’ machine. He just got lucky by chance.

The Working of Progressive Jackpot Pokies

Cash splash pokies
Winning the Jackpot Prize

Progressive machines exclusively pay the maximum jackpot when you hit on the specific winning symbol combination on a maximum bet spin. To win a progressive jackpot, it is important that you wager the maximum number of coins or credit bets, or maximum bet. You’ll also find blackjack and video poker games at various New Zealand-friendly online casinos that have a progressive jackpot component.

Pokies machines take more money than paying back

Pokies take more money
Real Pokies

Every machine will always take in more money than it pays out. Many players wrongly think if they sit at the same machine or if they haven’t won for a while; they are due for a win or that machine is due to payout. Jackpot rates are based upon hundreds of thousands or even millions of spins; so they don’t reflect what will happen on a particular day in a particular venue. Every spin is random.

The machine doesn’t take into account how long you’ve been sitting there or how much money you’ve put in. On top of this, machines give the impression that you have almost won – so you keep playing. A loss is a loss. The symbols displayed above or below the payline do not indicate how close you were to winning the jackpot.

Free Spins will help you keep playing

Free Spins will help you keep playing
Free Spins will help you keep playing

These are another feature of machines. It keep you playing by making you think you’re close to a bigger win. They give you the feeling that you are doing better than you really are. Small wins like free spins are there to keep you playing for longer; with the aim of returning the most money to the casino.

As now you understand about the pokies and how each type work you should know that pokies can be played at low denominations, making them some of the safest gambling games for online casino Kiwis on a budget.

Always remember that there are no loose or tight pokies or the machine you play at most frequently offers you better chances of hitting big because the outcomes are independent and all apply the same fundamental rules and principles to each individual spin and are not dependent on previous spins or payouts. It does not matter whether you have played on a certain machine for hours or just sat down.

Operator cannot modify pokies machine

Operator cannot modify pokies machine
Operator cannot modify pokies machine

Also, a pokies machine cannot be modified by the entity that owns or operates it. All the pokies machines’ modification activities can only be carried out by the representatives of the manufacturers of the machines. Also, if the casino owners or operators need to make any modifications to them, they have to do it under the supervision of the Gaming Commission representative.

It is good to always remember that it is a random number generator system that determines what symbols the reels land on. It is this same system that, if you are lucky, will create a combination of winning numbers on any given spin.

The software operates on a random base, and thus, has no guarantee that the next combination will be a winning combination. Always, therefore, play wisely after now knowing as to how online pokies work.

False winning features of poker machines

Many features of Pokies Machine
Many features of Pokies Machine

Pokies machines also will give you false winning indications. The machine will have lights and sounds that make it seem like you’ve won when actually you’ve still lost money. Machines will also celebrate any win regardless of the total amount you’ve gambled over the session. More often than not, the total amount spent will be more than you win, so on the whole, you lose.

Finally, after knowing how the pokies work in NZ it’s your choice to pump money into these machines or not. Note that no matter what you do to a pokie machine; you cannot change what it is programmed to do. As it is a computer-designed electronic device. It is to take in more money than it pays out and there is no skill to win them.

Click here to know how the pokies system work in NZ