Updated Updated: August 15, 2023

Online pokies real money games [NZ 2024]

Online pokies are the most popular games by far at online casinos in NZ. On this page, we’ll have a close look at every aspect of online pokies games and where to play for real money and for free. Read More

Online pokies bonuses at recommended casinos:

  • BetZest – 20 free spins on registration
  • Kajot – 50 free spins no deposit on registration
  • Casumo – 20 free spins no deposit on registration
  • Royal Panda – 10 free spins on registration
  • Explosino – 20 free spins on registration
  • BlackSpins – 20 free spins on registration

Free online pokies for all NZ players

If there is one thing that we do best at BetPal then it’s finding out the very best free spins on signup offers and promotions. We know that you enjoy playing free online slot games and so we also take the time to search the internet for the best free-play online pokies.

What are free-play online pokies? Well, these are essentially the same collection of games found at any online casino but with one difference: you spin the reels with ‘bonus money’

Using ‘bonus money‘ is a great way of testing out games to see if you like the features and bonus rounds. Of course, you don’t win or get to keep any winnings but it’s enjoyable all the same. We think that this is the perfect way for you to practice playing pokies. It’s also a useful stepping stone for when you eventually play with real money or claim any of our free spins bonuses.  

Here at Betpal, we have got plenty of up-to-date options for you if you want to play free online pokie games. We review and recommend only the top NZ gaming sites, so you get to experience the very best casinos and the best collection of free-play games available online.

Play online pokies real money in NZ: recommended sites

Best online pokies for real money

We’ve done some research and found out which are the top 3 best Kiwi online pokies available to play right now. We keep in mind several important factors that we know you appreciate when it comes to online slot games: we ensure that our best online pokies offer a mobile version, they´re available at trusted casinos, and you can win real money from them!

Let´s jump right in:

1. Dead or Alive

dead or alive slot game
  • RTP: 96.82%
  • Bet per spin: $0.09 – $9
  • 3-row, 5-reel and 9-payline

The Old West theme continues to attract NZ players and this particular game from NetEnt holds all the aces.

The immersive game comes complete with great graphics, a top soundtrack, and all the bonus features that you would expect from a game like this. Free spins, big multipliers, and Wild symbols all help to stack up the cash as you spin to win in this all-action pokie adventure.

Pokies RTP (Return to Player) generally varies between 92% and 97% which makes Dead or Alive quite profitable. Read more about RTP here.

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2. Starburst

starburst slot game
  • RTP: 96.09%
  • Bet per spin: $0.10 – $100
  • 3-row, 5-reel and 10-payline which payout both ways

Starburst is the colourful and cosmic pokie that has engrossed the online casino world ever since it was released back in 2012. You will continue to find this game in the best pokie lists and featured sections of all the top NZ online casinos, and it goes to show that a game doesn’t need to be new, to be loved.

The simplicity of Starburst keeps its fans coming back for more and you’ll quickly understand when you give those cosmic gems a spin!

Get up to 100 free spins on Starburst at Frank&Fred

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3. Mega Moolah

mega moolah slot
  • RTP: 88.12%
  • Bet per spin: $0.25 – $6.25
  • 3-row, 5-reel and 25-payline

It’s hard not to mention Mega Moolah when it comes to the best online pokies NZ list, because the game is responsible for several of the biggest online wins in the history of online gaming. Mega Moolah is a progressive jackpot which means that every amount not won is added to a common pot – the jackpot amounts can go really high.

ⓘ In 2015, a total of $28,757,400 was won by a lucky punter and so thousands of jackpot hunters in New Zealand continue to try their luck on this game every day.

It also helps that Mega Moolah is an extremely fun game to play anyway with the colorful animal theme and happy soundtrack bouncing you along.

Get 80 free spins on Mega Moolah at Zodiac

How do online pokies work?

Today’s online pokies offer graphics, animations and game narratives matching those in video games. And the prospects of potentially bagging some life-changing wins obviously make these games even more exciting.

Online pokies are software versions of pokies machines you would find in a land-based casino. Initially, these games were digital versions of physical poker machines, but over the years, these fantastic games have taken a life of their own.

Nowadays, online pokies are often referred to as video poker, and we’ve certainly come a long way from the rudimentary games that developers spat out a few decades ago. These days, online pokies are fully-fledged games with captivating narratives, stunning graphics and animations, and innovative game mechanics. Furthermore, pokies are often divided into several subcategories, which speaks for the versatility that these games offer.

RNG – the technology behind making slots fair play

ⓘ All online pokies run on RNG engines (Random Number Generator) that ensure that all game results are fair and random.

We’re basically talking about complex algorithms that create long runs of numbers with random properties. These engines aren’t solely used in gambling but have a wide range of applications, such as statistical sampling and computer simulation.

Quick facts:

  • The random number generator (RNG) is a popular tool mainly used in slot games to provide random results on every spin. It ensures that every spin offers an equal chance of winning.
  • One can also say that the RNG technology in slot machines works with numbers from 1 to several billion. Every time you click on “Spin”, the next row of numbers is automatically logged, which will be displayed on your next spin.
  • The tool works with mathematical equations and algorithms that cannot be influenced by humans. With this system, players are guaranteed fair results.

How does a random number generator work?

betpal: random number generator explained

The mechanism uses a program code that incorporates the MD5 algorithm into a casino’s software. Its main job is to create random symbols or numbers used in a variety of casino games, including the most popular online slots.

The RNG’s goal is to avoid any repetition and set patterns to ensure different game results at all times. All randomness of games that takes place in virtual casinos should always resemble ones from land-based venues.

There are two main types of RNG – hardware RNG and pseudorandom RNG. The first one is a physical, external device that casinos connect to their server through a USB port. It shows a small board that produces a random series of numbers triggered by physical actions.

The Pseudorandom Number Generator ensures game randomness thanks to a mathematical algorithm rather than a physical gadget. The code is in charge of providing random numbers and determining the results of each game. This system is used across most of the quality online casinos.

And so the progressive jackpots were born:

This new technology also led to the inception of progressive jackpot games, which in turn have become one of the most popular categories at online casinos in NZ.

Another important aspect of RNG engines was the freedom the technology lent game developers. Suddenly, game manufacturers could create pokies with any imaginable theme and multiple pay lines. Furthermore, these new machines were operated with one single button, and soon enough, the good old one-armed bandits were moved out of the casino floors to make room for these stunning new inventions.

RTP [Return to player] of online pokies games

When we’re talking about the game mechanics of online pokie machines for real money, we often hear the term RTP (Return To Player).

ⓘ RTP – Return to Player: expresses how much money of the total stakes a pokie machine gives back to players in the form of winnings. 

If you take this statement at face value, you can easily get a bit naive and overly optimistic. Especially since online pokies tend to have an RTP in the range of 94% to 97%. It’s important to underline that these numbers are based on an incredibly vast amount of game rounds. 

So, if a pokie has an RTP of 97%, that doesn’t mean that you’ll win 97% of your game rounds. What it means is that the pokie pays out 97% of the total stakes gathered from the entire network, in the form of winnings. The remaining 3% is then the house edge or in other words, the casino’s profit.

How to find out the RTP?

If you want to find out the RTP of a specific pokie, there are several ways you can go about it. The easiest way would be to visit the manufacturer’s website and check the game specifications there. In most cases, game developers are completely transparent with this information.

If you don’t find the information there, a simple Google search should do the trick – just type in the game’s name and RTP in the search field.

Types of bonuses – play free online pokies

Most people playing online pokies are looking to get value for the money they spend. And another great thing about playing pokies online is the possibility of increasing your bankroll with bonuses and free spins. For many players, casino bonuses are an essential part of playing pokies online. Here are some of the most common online casino free sign-up bonuses. 

No deposit free spins 

No deposit casino bonus is the optimal bonus for players that want to play online pokies for free. We’re basically talking about free game rounds that you don’t pay for. Although free spins and no deposit at online slots are becoming increasingly scarce, some casinos still hand them out as an incentive for players to create an account or try a new game.

Online NZ casinos offering free spins and no deposit bonuses

No Code Required
NO DEPOSIT: 50 free spins or 5 EUR bonus
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NO DEPOSIT: $5 cash or 20 free spins + 200% up to $100 on first deposit
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20 free spins NO DEPOSIT + 120% up to €500 & 100 free spins on first deposit
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100% up to NZ$1,000.00 + 150 Free Spins
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Up to $1,000 & 300 free spins

Regular free spins

These are free spins you pay for. In other words, the casino will give you a specified amount of free spins, in either one or several pre-chosen games, when you deposit a certain amount. 

Mega spins

The same thing as free spins, but with a higher coin value. This also means that you have chances of winning a lot more. Mega Spins are quite rare, but every now and then you’ll come across a casino that offers them.

Deposit bonuses

Deposit bonuses are the most common bonuses at online casinos. The casino will give you a sum of bonus money when you make a deposit. Pretty much all welcome offers are made up of deposit bonuses, or a combination of deposit bonuses and free spins.

Online Pokies Game Types for NZ Players

Over the years, online video poker has been subdivided into several categories. And the two main categories are video poker and classic pokies.

The latter category consists of retro-styled online pokies true to the roots of pokie machines. These games have three reels and a few straightforward pay lines. 

Video poker

Video poker makes up the greater part of online pokies and comes in many different shapes and forms. The standard set-up tends to be five reels and three rows. As far as pay lines go, you’ll find anything from 20 to 243 different pay lines.  In recent years, we’ve also seen game developers experimenting and coming up with new setups providing more than 100, 000 pay lines. In other words, there are no defining boundaries for video poker, and this is a category that keeps evolving. What all video pokies do have in common is that they often have bonus games, free spins rounds and multipliers.

Progressive jackpot pokies

The progressive jackpot pokies also deserve to be mentioned as they bring something unique to the table. The fundamental game mechanics of these games are the same as in video poker, but there is one important differentiating factor – the jackpots. 

ⓘ In progressive jackpot pokie, a small part of every stake goes towards a common network jackpot. In other words, every player chips in with every game round he or she makes.

As you probably can imagine, these jackpots grow seriously big quickly. The bigger they get, the more people play, and in turn, the jackpots keep getting bigger. It’s these games that have handed truly spectacular life-changing wins, sometimes in the range of $100 million.

Main features in pokies casino games

Regardless of what pokie machine you’re playing, there are some fundamental principles and game features that stay the same – let’s have a look at them.

The paylines

To win on a poker machine, you need matching symbols to form a specific pattern on the reels, and these patterns are called pay lines. For instance, in a traditional three-reeled pokie machine, three matching symbols lining up horizontally across the reels will give you a win. In online pokies, these patterns get more complex and increase in numbers.

Minimum and maximum bets

This signifies the highest and lowest stake you can place in a pokie machine. This is very relevant as winnings are always a multiplication of your stake. The more you bet, the more you stand to win.

The coin value

In pokies machines, the money you bet is represented by coins, sort of like chips in a poker game. To raise or lower your stake you, therefore, adjust the coin value. Your total stake is equivalent to the number of coins you bet, multiplied by the coin value and number of pay lines. 

Online pokies casino compared to poker machines in land-based casinos

Fundamentally, online pokies and poker pokies in land-based casinos are very similar. They both run on RNG engines and use computer-made graphics and animations. 

There is a big difference when it comes to RTP.

ⓘ Online pokies tend to have RTPs in the range of 94% to 97%, while poker machines in land-based casinos lie somewhere around 75%.

This has to do with the fact that land-based casinos need a bigger house edge to cover all expenses that come with running a brick-and-mortar casino.

Another important difference is the game selection. There is no way for land-based casinos to keep up with the rapidly growing game portfolio that online casinos offer. The logistics just don’t allow it. 

In general, most online pokies developers create at least one new game every other month. And for the most part, online casinos in NZ have partnerships with at least ten different providers. To stay competitive, online casinos do their best to stay up to date with all new releases, which means that you can expect a bunch of new pokies every month. 

Which are the best game providers?

This is a hard question to answer. A decade ago, there were a handful of mammoth game developers that eclipsed the rest, but in recent years we’ve seen a new range of truly great game studios emerge. 

This is a good thing, as it means players get more great pokies to choose from. The increasing competition also forces game developers to keep pushing the boundaries.

There are currently at least ten great game developers on the market, and most of them release several new games every year:

  • NetEnt
  • Play n’GO
  • Microgaming

However, these giants are being challenged by upcoming like:

  • Yggdrasil
  • Thunderkick
  • Quickspin

Game developers have a certain flair that makes their games unique. As far as the game mechanics go, they’re quite similar. With that being said, many developers have been creative and created bonus games and additional game functions that take modern online pokies to a whole new level.

Luckily, these leading providers distribute their products to casinos operating across the world, which means that New Zealanders have plenty of fantastic online pokies machines to choose from.


The pokies games have 3 main features:

  • The paylines
  • Minimum and maximum bets
  • The coin value

No, online pokies are not rigged. This is 100% sure as online pokies are always regulated by government organizations that make sure they are fair, such as the UKGC.

Although the answer to this question is really a matter of opinion, there is still a case to say certain providers bring the best slots to life. Therefore, we would say that the best online slots come from the studios of Netent, who are considered the market leader. However, slots from Play N’Go, Quickspin, Yggdrasil and Thunderkick are also very good.

If you sign up to an online casino then the slots you will find on their platform will always be real-money slots. Thus, they require you to play with real funds in the hope of winning real funds too. There is though the option to play for free at most online casinos too though.

Absolutely. Free spins are an incredibly valuable tool in a slot game fan arsenal. However, they should be used with care as the T&Cs attached to free spins may limit wins or will see you investing more than you win due to wagering requirements. As such, you should proceed with caution.

Yes, if you play them at online casinos, they will pay out real money that can withdrawn and used in the real world. This is different to bonus money or money accumulated via free spins that are locked into wagering requirements. This is an important difference you need to pay attention too.

Online pokies are legal in New Zealand and are overseen by the gambling authorities in the country. This ensures that when you play you are doing so within the confines of the law.

The main differentiation among slots can be drawn between classic slots (slots with 3 reels and a more straightforward gameplay) and video slots (the more commonly found slots at online casino with numerous design and features). However, the difference in slots on the markets go much deeper and you find slots in the thousands online.

While there are many games that are popular, there is a handful that stand-out as the most frequently found. A few notable ones include Starburst and Gonzo’ Quest, which are often linked with free spins, as well as Book of the Dead and Tiki Totems. These are all popular due to their fun gameplay and lucrative results.

Progressive jackpots are slot games that accumulate larger and larger jackpots as more people play them. This means that the total jackpot can be in the millions and will continue to grow until it pays out at any moment. This is different from other slot games where there is a capped maximum win.

All games have different pay-out frequencies. The key to this is to consider the slots RTP and combine that with the games volatility or variance. A combination of the two will tell you how much the slots payout and how regularly.

Pokies are definitely safe to play. This is because they are regulated by various governing bodies over the world – not only in New Zealand. This ensures that they are fair and nothing untoward happens. This is permitting you find a licensed casino as those that are unlicensed might provide dodgy games.

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