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The Popularity of the Pokies Down Under

by Matt

Australia is one of the countries that gamble the most. There is over 80 percent of Australian adults have gambled at some point. However, there is one particular way to gamble that the Aussies are fond of and this is by playing the pokies.

Thanks to technology, there are now many pokies online that you can play. However, even if you don’t go online there are now around 200,000 pokies that are scattered all over the country. You can find these machines in hotels, resorts, restaurants, and pubs. This is why this is the most accessible way to gamble in the country.

Over 95,000 are found in New South Wales and over 46,000 are in Queensland. Meanwhile, Victoria has around 29,000 pokies. These numbers are proof that pokies are big in the country because New Zealand only has around 16,500 pokies while Canada has around 98,000. With the number of pokies in Australia, the ratio of this is one machine for every 114 people. This ratio beats gambling destinations like Macau.

If you’re not from Australia, you probably are unsure of what pokies are. These are slot machines. ‘Pokies’ is the slang term that the locals use for this game. These machines have been legal in Australia for a long time now. As early as 1956, pokies were already allowed in New South Wales.  This came to Queensland and Victoria in 1991 and then the Northern Territory in 1998.

It’s easy to understand why the majority of the adult population in Australia has already played pokies at some point. Aside from how accessible it is, this is also one of the simplest casino games that you can play. You can easily enjoy this game with or without knowledge of gambling.

Technology has also made slot machine games more interesting. It’s no longer just the pull-the-lever-and-wait-for-the-results kind of casino game. Many online pokies are now played like 24k Casino Australia with stories and different strategies and levels. Australians are naturally adventurous and are into games of chances. This is why they easily have a good time playing pokies. 

On average, clubs and hotels with pokies make around 56,000 AUD a year. However, some places could make more. There are a few places in Victoria with pokies machines that make over 200,000 AUD a year each. 

Pokies in Australia is also one of the biggest revenue-making industries. In the year 2013-2014, the government was able to get a total of 3.2 billion taxes on poker machines alone. That is around 5 percent of the state-levied tax revenue that year.

There is around 20 to 30 percent of Australian adults that play the pokies at least once a year. 4 percent of these people play every week and are estimated to lose an average of 7000-8000 AUD a year. However, Western Australia doesn’t share the same story because pokies are only allowed to be placed in land casinos in this territory. 

Many pokies are placed in the poorest Australian suburbs. This makes sense because it’s understandable that many people who need money would turn to gamble to make a profit. In Western Sydney, particularly Fairfield, each adult would lose an average of 2340 AUD a year. 

Since Australia is big on gambling, it’s no secret that the country is also dealing with gambling problems. The Productivity Commission estimated that there are over 100,000 problem gamblers in the country. Unsurprisingly, around 40 percent of the gambling losses in the country is accounted for by the pokies. It is also reported that many problem gamblers live near poker machine venues.

Now, even if Australia can’t deny its love for the pokies, there are still around 70 percent of the population who agree that gambling should be more controlled in the country. Around 74 percent have said that there should be a limited amount of spending on gambling activities.

The UK has already implemented a limit on the amount of money that the locals could spend on betting terminals. Like Australia, the UK is also one of the countries that gamble the most. This is why the UK Gambling Commission has been implementing stricter gambling rules in the country.

Well, generally gambling outside the licensed casinos in Australia is illegal. However, the locals are still able to do so because they can still place their bets on casinos that are located outside the country. Even if limitations are already implemented in some parts of Australia when it comes to playing pokies, it’s still undeniable that Australia is the land of pokies.

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