Australia And Its Love Affair With The Pokies

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Emily Bruni, Rik Mayall and Michael Maloney.In Australia, the slot machines are more commonly called poker machines or pokies. These usually have video displays instead of the traditional physical reels. Players have to line up about five in each machine and players can win through many different configurations. There are also bonuses, free games, and bonus levels that make the game more interesting. People play them for a bit of entertainment as well as to try their luck. Payouts can be big if you get a winning pattern on the screen. The rush can be addicting. The machines are also incredibly simple to operate allowing anyone to play without effort.


These are incredibly popular all over the country with New South Wales really embracing them fully. Back in 1999, a study found that there were almost 180,000 such machines in Australia. More than half was in the state of NSW. At the time, this figure made up as much as 2.6% of the gambling machines in existence. The country had five times more of them than the US on a per capita basis. Most can be found in casinos where you would expect them to be. These are typically the first things that patrons will see when they enter. Pubs and clubs may also have their own. Nowadays, people can play them anywhere thanks to Royal Vegas Australia online pokies.


The use of pokies is regulated the government. Specifically, it is the states that determine their own laws regarding the matter. It was in 1956 when they were first legalized in NSW. Other states soon followed as they saw the potential of using these machines for revenue generation. Examples include Queensland, Victoria, and Western Australia. The laws determine where these can be installed and how sites can apply for inclusion. In Western Australia, there are restrictions on the types of machines that can be operated. They are also limited to the Burswood casino and nowhere else as a matter of public interest.


The revenues collected from the various pokies can be measured in billions of dollars every year. This shows just how much Australians love to play the game and how the governments benefit from their continued operation, which ideally means that the public benefits from this form of gambling as well. State regulators try to ensure that the players don't just keep losing money on the game. They have mandated fairly high return rates ranging from 85% to 90%. Another protection mechanism is to ban $100 notes from the machines with a few notable exceptions like VIPs in certain casinos.


Machines in Victoria are also banned from playing automatically just by holding the button. This is meant to prevent people from losing so much money quickly from gambling. It adds just that little bit of effort that slows things down. The machines are also required to provide users with helpful details such as the return to player percentage, the different combinations, the pay table, and the relevant game rules so that they can make informed decisions.

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Material Copyright 2001 Nigel Watson