Poker Machines in Australia

Poker Machines in Australia

Pokie machines in Australia have quite a foothold in the country; It contains more than 20% of the world's pokie machines! Despite the fact that it's quite widespread throughout Australia, it wasn't always that way. Here's how the pokies came to reign supreme in the Land Down Under.
Early BeginningsIn the late 1800s, a man named Charles Fey from San Francisco, California, United States created the world's first auto payout pokie machine called the Liberty Bell. It worked exactly like some modern day machines; Put money in, match certain images or objects and you win money. It proved to be wildly successful and was later banned in California after it became so popular. Elsewhere throughout the country and beyond, poker machines popped in barber shops, bars, bowling alleys, cigar stores, and brothels. Its rapid popularity led to the machines appearing overseas. It came to Australia in the early 1900s. They were illegal throughtout the country, yet many gamblers continued to use them.

The 1950s

During the 1950s many changes occured to the pokie machines that reshaped its popularity in Australia forever. An Australian company called Aristocrat would produce their first two game machines, the Clubman and Clubmaster in 1953 and 1955 respectively. Aristocrat from that point would go on to become the largest Australian slots machines manufacturer.
In 1956 the New South Wales government legalized the machines in clubs. This massively boosted pokie machines popularity among the general public.
Despite the fact that the poker machines would remain unchanged from Fey's original invention (one, three, or five lines and a lever to spin, as well as small jackpots), people loved how intriguing it was. How could a machine be so simple and have no way to beat it? As it became legalized in more places across Australia, the machines were now starting to be introduced to an even bigger crowd of people, further increasing its never waning popularity.

Video Slots

After over 80 years of the same mechanical pokie machines, video slot machines were introduced. The were were fully electronic and you could press a button to stop the reels from spinning, unlike before where you had to wait for them to stop on their own. Video slots also added more ways to win, with random elements like an extra spin and a gamble option, as well as more lines to win. It was during this period that the modern lights and sounds of pokie machines were born.

New Legislation

Before the 90s, pokies were strictly limited to government authorized clubs and casinos. That changed when some Australian States decided to allow the games in pubs and bars. It happened first in Queenslan in 1992, then South Australia in 1994, and New South Wales in 1997. This action helped make poker machines one of the most easily accessible and popular form of gambling in Australia.

Online Slots

With every new step we take in technology, everything has to evolve with it. The pokies were no exception. Online slots picked up steam in the mid-2000s when the game “Thunderstruck” was released my Microgaming. It paved the way for other slot games to be released online, making it easier for people to enjoy the iconic game.

Facts about Pokie Machines

  • The word “Pokie” came from a portmanteau of “Cardies” and Poker.
  • There are almost 200,00 pokie machines in Australia, with half of them in NSW.
  • You can win up to $10,000 in a pub slot game.
  • The average player loses $380 a year.
  • 38.6% of the adults in Australia have used a pokie machine.

So now you know how the pokie machines came to be so popular in Australia. Its wide-ranging influence and ever changing ways to play makes sure the iconic game stays here for a long time.


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