Pokies Around The World – Facts And Figures

A common Australian term, a pokie, is a gambling game popular all over the world but named differently. For instance, a pokie game in the United States is called a slot machine. The residents of the United Kingdom call pokies fruit machines, on the other hand.

Just like different countries have different names for gambling machines, they have different rules and regulations for them.

Electronic gambling machines are subjected to very pronounced debates in Australia, commented upon by politicians, sociologists, psychologists and other social scientists. Australia, as a federal country, has slightly varying legislation concerning pokies, but it is based on a unison outlook of pokies, based on the agreed view of „problem gambling.“

Pokies, including mobile pokies, are the largest source of income compared to other gambling industries like horse and dog racing and other sports betting, for example. Every large city in Australia has a casino. The first state to legalize gambling, but only in registered pubs and clubs, was New South Wales, and now the number of gambling machines or pokies in Australia reaches almost 200.000. The number of pokies in Australia represents close to 20% of the total number of slot machines in the whole world. The obligatory payback rate for Nw South Wales and Victoria-based machines is a minimal 87% and 85% in Queensland. Pokie machines which worked on 100% Bills were forced out of casinos because of government regulation, leaving them only in VIP zone of the Crown Casino. Also, all of the pokie machines in pubs have a 10.000$ maximum payout.

Players in the United Kingdom use a slightly different name – fruit machines – but the concept is the same. UK regulative bodies recognize eight categories of pokie machines. These differ in the sum of money which can be used to play and the maximum amount the machine can give out as a prize. For example, category A machines are illegal because they have no limit on both of this parameter – spending and payout. Category B machines are further categorized into five segments.


The United States keeps a strict regime of gambling, and there are only several states, besides the desert state of Nevada, which allow gambling and gambling machines. For instance, New Jersey allows gambling only in Atlantic City casinos and Missouri, Louisiana and Illinois allow it only on riverboats or anchored barges.Slot machines are also allowed in Delaware, but only at horse races, and Wisconsin allows up to five machines in bars and taverns.

Furthermore, the Native American reservations can also be allowed to set up gambling activities, but only with the permission of the residents and with a portion of revenue staying in the reservation.
Other countries have different policies concerning gambling machines. These vary from complete bans to free gambling.

For example, Norway declared gambling machines illegal in 2007, but Macau, on the other hand, is a gambling country, where all types of gambling are allowed. Japan even criminalizes gambling activity, but there is a specific loophole – the game of pachinko.

Author: Geneva Hyman

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