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INFOGRAPHIC: Facts About Online Pokies in Australia

Did you know that there is one pokies for every 101 Aussies? Read more interesting facts about online pokies in Australia.

Australian Pokies - Infographic

Aussies love pokies and there is no doubt to it. Here are some of the most interesting facts about online pokies in Australia according to the latest statistical records.

Pokies as Gaming Machines

In Australia “poker machines” or “pokies” are officially termed as ‘gaming machines’.

Australian-style gaming machines frequently use video displays to simulate physical reels, usually five. These machines have additional bonusing and second-screen features such as free games and bonus levels. They also allow for multiple lines (up to 200) or multiple ways (up to 3,125) to be played.

On multi way games, you can play the entire position of each reel instead of fixed lines or patterns. Like if a player plays 1 reel on a 243 way game, they receive three symbols in the first reel which pay anywhere in the three positions, while all other reels pay in the centre only, with unused areas darkened.

If you play 5 reels, symbols can appear anywhere in the window and will pay as long as there is one in each reel. Most games however still require the symbols appearing left to right, sometimes this even includes scatters. Scatter symbols still pay the same as per conventional games, multiplying their pay amount by the total bet and the amount of ways/reels played.

Other multi way games give you even more ways by using a 4×5 or 5×5 pattern, where there are up to 5 symbols in each reel, allowing for up to 1,024 and 3,125 ways to win respectively. Aristocrat calls these games Xtra Reel Power and Super Reel Power respectively. These games typically cost more than their 243 way Reel Power counterparts. Recently, IGT has also started to manufacture multiway games.

Gaming machine manufacturer Konami Australia also made an alternative way of gaming by using patterns, where symbols pay adjacent to one another. Most of these games have a hexagonal reel formation, and much like multiway games, any patterns not played are darkened out of use. On both systems, scatter symbols still pay in the darkened areas just like standard machines where scatters don’t have to appear on a payline.

The laws regulating the use of gaming machines in Australia are a matter for State governments, and as such they vary between States.

Gaming machines are found in casinos (approximately one in each major city) as well as pubs and clubs in some states (usually sports, social, or RSL clubs). The first Australian state to legalize this style of gambling was New South Wales in 1956 when they were made legal in all registered clubs in the state.

In Queensland, gaming machines in pubs and clubs must provide a return rate of 85% while machines located in casinos must provide a return rate of 90%. Most other states have similar provisions.

In Victoria, gaming machines must provide a minimum return rate of 87% (including jackpot contribution), including machines in Crown Casino.

As of December 1, 2007, all gaming machines with support for $100 notes were banned due to an amendment to the gaming laws; all gaming machines made since 2003 comply with this rule. This new law also banned machines which would automatically play with the button held. One exception to these laws exists in Crown Casino, any player with a VIP loyalty card can still insert $100 notes and use the autoplay feature, whereby the machine will continue to play without player intervention until credit is exhausted or the player intervenes.

All gaming machines in Victoria have an information screen accessible to the user by pressing the ‘i key’ button, showing the game rules, paytable, return to player percentage, and the top and bottom five combinations, with the odds shown. These combinations are stated to be played on a minimum bet (usually 1 credit per line, with 1 line or reel played), excluding feature wins.

Western Australia only permits the use of particular forms of gaming machine in Burswood Casino, and no gaming machines may be used elsewhere. This policy (the most restrictive in Australia) had a long historical basis, and was reaffirmed by the 1974 Royal Commission into Gambling.

Pokies and the numbers

  • Australia has over 20% of the worlds gaming machines
  • There are close to 200,000 slot/pokies machines in Australia
  • 100,308 of these are found in New South Wales
  • Australia’s population is 20,264,082 – one game for every 101 people
  • 38.6% of adult Australians play the pokies
  • In 2003 / 2004 punters lost $16.21 billion ($9.1 billion on pokies)
  • It is estimated that there are over 300,000 problem gamblers
  • The average payout percentage of pokies is 90.89%
  • Average chance of winning the jackpot playing 1 line is 1 in 50,000,000
  • Average chance of winning the jackpot playing 20 lines is 1 in 2,500,000
  • The highest jackpot you can win in a pub is $10,000
  • The average player loses $380 dollars every year
  • The average problem punter loses $12,000 each year

The Facts of Pokies

The most important fact to keep in mind when playing pokies machines is that they all have a payout percentage of less than 100%. Any gambling game with a payout of lower than 100% will eventually lead to you losing all of your money if you play long enough.

While some players will be short term winners only those that win massive progressive jackpots or win a big amount and never play again will be long term winners.

The next thing to keep in mind is that every spin is random and is in no way changed by the previous spins. Each and every spin has the same shot at winning the top jackpot or any other prize. This means that even if you have lost on a machine for a long period of time that there is absolutely no guarantee that the game will start to pay out.

There is no way to win on the pokies in the long term. This is made somewhat worse for players in the fact that the maximum win in a pub is $10,000 per spin which is very small compared to the odds of winning.

Considering the odds of getting a win this big are roughly 2,500,000 to 1 the actual win is really quite small. You have roughly the same chance of winning the lottery where you will get a much bigger prize.

Poker machines have minted a select few super rich, such as James Packer (net worth A$6,080 million), Len Ainsworth (net worth A$1,840 million), Bruce Mathieson (net worth A$1,160 million), Arthur Laundy (net worth A$310 million) and the Farrell family (net worth A$275 million).

Facts about losses over playing Pokies Machines in Australia

In 2013–14, Australians lost A$11 billion on poker machines in clubs and hotels. A further A$1.5 billion is estimated to have been lost on poker machines in casinos. That’s a total of around A$700 per adult per year.

Australians lose more on gambling than any other nation, mostly because of poker machines. In 2014, Australians lost more than US$1100 per capita, compared with less than US$600 in New Zealand and the US, and less than US$500 in Canada and Britain.

In 2013–14, state and territory governments raised A$3.2 billion in taxes on poker machines in clubs and hotels – that’s 5% of state-levied tax revenue.

Between 20% and 30% of Australian adults play poker machines at least once a year (except in Western Australia). The 4% who play weekly are conservatively estimated to lose an average of A$7000 to A$8000 per year.

It’s easy to lose A$1500 per hour playing poker machines at their maximum bet size and maximum speed. Because poker machine returns are unpredictable over the short term, gamblers playing in this way could lose a greater or lesser amount.

The average poker machine in clubs and hotels makes A$56,000 per year. Some machines are much more profitable, with pokies in several venues in Victoria making more than A$200,000 each.

Poker machines are concentrated in Australia’s poorest suburbs. In Western Sydney’s relatively impoverished Fairfield, each adult lost an average of A$2340 on the pokies in 2010-11; in wealthy Ku-ring-gai and Willoughby, poker machine losses were just A$270 per adult.

In 2010, the Productivity Commission estimated that there were around 115,000 “problem gamblers” in Australia, who account for 40% of losses on poker machines. People who live closer to poker machine venues are more likely to experience gambling problems.

Around 30% of people who play poker machines weekly are problem gamblers or are “at risk” of becoming problem gamblers. In WA, where poker machines are only allowed inside the casino, the rate of problem gambling is one-third of that in the rest of the country.

Aside from banning poker machines outside casinos, the most promising harm-minimisation measures include reducing maximum bet limits and requiring gamblers to set a limit before they begin playing (pre-commitment).

Poker machine reform is popular in Australia: 70% of people agree that gambling should be more tightly controlled and 74% agree that people should be limited to spending an amount they nominate before they start gambling.

Players are not that much winners of pokies machines as are the gaming operators (Pubs, Clubs, Casinos) and the biggest winner of them all is the government who collect billions every year as gambling taxes – a much bigger prize.

Therefore play online pokies within your bank roll and stick to it. Enjoy online pokies and play free for fun and entertainment.

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10 November 2016

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