Nothing quite beats the thrill of a land-based casino – the sights, the sounds, the energy and the endless life-changing possibilities. Just ask any person who’s ever been fortunate enough to experience this first-hand. But, what makes a great online casino?

For decades, these bricks-and-mortar casinos were a luxury, reserved only for those living nearby or those who could afford to travel. Today, players from all corners of the globe, from the major cities and small villages alike, can cash in on the exciting entertainment and rewards that online casinos have to offer – great news for players from New Zealand.

But what exactly is it that sets one online casino apart from another. Is it the software, games selection, banking options, security features, welcome offers, promotions or support? Most players would agree that it’s a combination of all of the above.

Bottom line, a great online casino will have excellent features throughout. So if you’re planning to sign up at a New Zealand online casino in the near future, take a glance at the following key characteristics to ensure that you make an informed decision.

Licensed and Legit

The very first thing to check for when choosing an online casino is to make sure that it’s licensed to operate in New Zealand. Most online casinos operate across continents and might carry a license from jurisdictions like Gibraltar or Malta.

This should still be perfectly acceptable for players from New Zealand. Also, keep an eye out for other trust cues on the online casino’s website such as industry watchdogs like eCOGRA and whether the casino’s frequently audited. With these tick boxes checked, you can assume the online casino is legitimate and therefore safe to sign up at.

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Security & Privacy Measures

Top online casinos will always ensure that your personal details remain private, and your funds are kept safe. These destinations usually incorporate the latest encryption technology which is guaranteed to safeguard funds and sensitive info.

If this seems too technical, simply keep an eye out for any mention of 128-bit SSL (Secure Socket Layer) encryption – it’s the best in the biz and will give you the peace of mind needed to enjoy zero-worries play.

Sign-up or Welcome Offers

Almost all online casinos will treat new players to a welcome offer, which acts both as a thank you for choosing them and an incentive to let you have a great first experience with them. As a player from New Zealand, make sure that this offer is available in NZ dollars and make sure you read the terms and conditions linked to the offer. Many will require a deposit to get activated, and some play-through spins before you can cash out any winnings.

These welcome rewards can take on one of the following forms:

A Match Bonus

You’ll receive a percentage match on your first deposit for example a 100% match bonus up to NZ$200, which is double your money on your first deposit

Free Spins

You’ll receive a number of spins on a specific online pokies game to get you started.

Free Credits

You’ll receive many free credits to play out on your preferred game.

Or you could be given a combination of any of the offers mentioned above.

Deposit & Withdrawal Options

As a player from New Zealand, you need to make sure that the online casino you choose to play at, offers locally accepted banking mechanisms and accept NZ$ as a currency.

These deposit and withdrawal methods can include a variety of options such as web wallets, prepaid cards, e-cheques, debit cards and credit cards.

Make sure big names like MasterCard, Skrill, Entropay, Maestro, Visa, NETELLER, POLi and your personal favorites make it onto the online casino’s selections list. It might also offer other region-specific options, so be sure to pick a banking method that’s available to you in New Zealand.

Device Compatibility

As an online casino player, you should be able to log in to play with your username and password across any of the following devices: PC, laptop, smartphone and tablet. Make sure that the online casino you choose offers software that’s compatible with all of these devices, whether it’s iOS, Windows or Android-driven. If the online casino’s software is compatible with all devices, you can literally log into play from anywhere in the world – all you need is internet connectivity.

Software and Games Selection

Top online casinos use only first-class software such as Microgaming and NetEnt. For the player, this translates into seamless gameplay without any unnecessary interruptions, world-class graphics, exceptional audio effects and soundtracks, state-of-the-art features like 3D and interactive bonus screens, super-easy navigation and so much more. These top-end software developers also ensure that they keep producing cutting-edge games with popular themes so that you can look forward to new releases on a regular basis.

These online casinos will also offer you a wide variety of online casino gaming options, ranging from fun-filled video pokies and scratchies to competitive pokies tourneys and realistic table games like roulette, blackjack, and baccarat – even live dealer tables. Make sure your choice offers all of the above with a total of at least a few hundred games to choose from. And double check that it offers progressive pokies in the line-up. These jackpot-packed pokies games could change your life in just one lucky spin, with the potential to pay out up to a few million at once. Mega Moolah for example recently set a new record for the biggest online pokies payout ever – a staggering £13.2 million. Take note; this progressive pokies game is available to players from New Zealand too. Just imagine what you’d do with a few instant millions in your pocket.

Promotions & Player Programmes

Aside from having the chance to pocket winnings on virtual pokies machines or tables, most top-end online casinos also invite players to take part in themed promotions and competitions, packed with prizes. Other player incentives available at leading online casinos include Loyalty Programmes, which let you accumulate points as you wager which you can exchange for bonus credits later. Many also offer VIP programs for their high rollers – complete with exclusive gifts, special invites to events and the services of a personalized VIP host.

24/7 Player Support

It’s always good to know that help is at hand when you sign up at a new online casino. Find one that makes the promise of immediate 24/7 assistance via various channels, including phone, email, and the very convenient live chat service. This way, you know that any problem can be sorted in a matter of minutes so you can get back to your gaming without much delay.

Reputation is Key

If you want to know whether an online casino is all it claims to be, simply ask other players. You’ll find plenty of forums, blogs and other online sites which rate online casinos and give feedback regarding their offerings, payouts and player service.

Also check to see how long an online casino has been operational for. The longer it’s been in the business, the better you can expect its entertainment and rewards to be. After all, only the best online casinos will stand the test of time. And that’s where you’d want to play.