The Kiwis apparently couldn’t resist the allure of big lottery jackpots last year.
Stuff reported that New Zealanders took out an extra NZ$125 million (US$91 million) from their pockets to gamble last year, citing statistics from the country’s Department of Internal Affairs (DIA).
From NZ$2.2 billion ($1.63 billion) in 2016, the DIA announced that the Kiwi’s gambling expenditure rose by 5.35 percent to NZ$2.33 billion ($1.72 billion) last year. The government said that the residents gambled more money in lottery, followed by pokies machines.
Data showed that money spent on lotteries climbed 28 percent. New Zealand lotteries saw its product sales jump 26.8 percent to NZ$555 million ($408.37 million) in 2017 from NZ$437 million ($321.54 million) in 2016.
A Lotto spokeswoman pointed out that the higher lottery sales were spurred by successful product changes, “resulting in unprecedented Powerball jackpots, together with a range of digital enhancements and a strengthened brand presence in retail.”
“The financial year also saw two Must Be Won Powerball draws during the year, with New Zealand’s biggest-ever jackpots of $40m and $44m,” the spokeswoman said, according to the news outlet.
On the other hand, the DIA noted that while pokies machine spending increased 3.1% to NZ$870 million ($640 million) in 2017, the per-person amount dropped from an average NZ$240 ($176.59) to NZ$237 ($174). The agency attributed the decline of the per-person amount to adjusted inflation and population changes.
Meanwhile, the DIA announced that the big losers last year in terms of money spent by New Zealanders were racing/sports betting firms and casinos, which saw 1.3 percent and 2.4 percent drops, respectively.
As a result, the New Zealand government saw its share from the country’s six casinos fall to NZ$572 million ($420.88 million).
SkyCity, which operates four of New Zealand’s six casinos, saw its gambling revenue affected by reduced international business turnover.
Early this month, SkyCity announced that its revenue rose 4 percent to NZ$554.7 ($400.2m) in the six months ending December 31, 2017 as Asian VIP gambling business in both New Zealand and Australia recovered.