Poker Machines

Pokies shame

  • As early as 2002, NSW alone had around 10% of the world's poker machines.

  • This form of gambling offers pathetic payout percentages to the player. (Around 90%)

  • Over 40 cents in every pokies dollar taken has been estimated to come from problem gamblers.

  • Gamblers lost nearly $32 billion on pokies in Victoria between 1992 and July 2010.

  • That represents losses in Victoria alone of $5.1 million a day for over 17 years! It is now much higher.

  • The biggest gambling addicts in Australia are revenue hungry governments, for example pocketing over $4 billion in gambling taxes as far back as the 2001/02 financial year.

(Stats from Productivity Commission report 2002)

 Slot Machines or Poker Machines, commonly known as Pokies (and only very loosely based on the actual game of poker), are now sadly one of the most prevalent froms of interactive gambling in Australia. The statistics above show the sort of menace these insidious machines have become.

Note: If you or someone you know is a poker machine player please visit our page on Virtual Poker Machines for a possible way to break the financial grip of this habit.

Wild Card Poker









Electronic mugger waits for victim

The addictive power of the pokies lies largely in their escapist element, but also in their simplicity and availability. They've spread into pubs and clubs so most people don't have to travel far to play and you don't need to be a rocket scientist to learn how to use them. (Try figuring out how to play craps at a casino without reading a rule book!)

Once lured into the poker machine environment, gamblers are kept there through Pavlovian conditioning by way of flashing lights, the clinking of coins being returned and digital music played whenever wins or special sequences occur, so that the possibility of a big win is continually reinforced. The absence of windows and clocks in most poker machine venues serves to create an escapist environment where time is easily forgotten and responsibilities fade into the background.

There is very little Smartgambler can offer by way of advice to pokies players, other than to try to give them up. It would be much better for you to switch to virtually any other form of gambling, except perhaps lotto. The pokies have differing percentage payouts depending on where you play them, but a realistic ball park figure for the average percentage return is around 91%, one of the worst gambling games you can play. The percentage may be slightly higher than this in some cases and slightly lower in others. Casinos in general have higher returns than clubs and if you play poker machines online the payouts are generally better than those of physical machines, probably due to lower overheads.

If you are determined to keep playing the pokies, we can offer some advice to help minimize your losses.


Next ... poker machine advice





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