Online slots are one of the most popular ways for people to have a fun gamble in Australia, as well as being one of the most convenient with people being able to have a flutter from the comfort of their own home, either on their computer or on their smartphone.
As convenient as it might seem now that we have smartphones, at one point, desktop computers couldn’t allow players to play online slots. In fact, back in the day, you were lucky to have a handful of physical slot machines in a single state. These were spun or operated by pulling down the handle to the right of the machine as opposed to simply pressing a physical button or tapping the smartphone screen that we do today which makes it seem so easy.
Today we’re going to have a look into when and where Online Slots came from and how it made its way into the Australian market taking it by storm. Now the first thing you should know is online pokies in Australia also refer to online slots, such as starburst pokie, one of the most popular slots in Australia. Pokie is the slang for video slots for the average Australian although it might seem a strange term for those who live outside of either Australia or New Zealand.
To understand the history, we first need to look at where slot machines themselves came from. They were invented roughly around 1887, which was a standard three-wheel slot machine created by a man called Charles Fey. Later in 1891, a five-reel slot was introduced based on the game of poker. This was when the machines were referred to as ‘Poker Machines’ in Australia. However we don’t know where the word ‘pokie’ came from as a description for these machines.
Slot machines themselves were first introduced to Australia in around 1920. However, they weren’t actually legalised until 1956 by the state government of New South Wales with all of the other Australian states quickly following suit. Now skip forward to the boom in technology in the 1990s, this is where online slots in Australia start to emerge. The first online casino to over online pokies or online slots was in 1994 and was based in Antigua.
Australians have long since had a love for gambling so as you’d expect, it didn’t take long for these pokies sites to take the country by storm. This popularity led to a surge in people becoming addicted to gambling, and while the ‘Interactive Gaming Act’ that was introduced in 2001 by the Australian government prevented Australian companies from creating online casinos to target fellow Australians specifically. They have long since been welcome at betting sites across the world from counties such as New Zealand, the UK, and the USA.
Although there has been a bit of controversy of the presence of physical pokie machines in pubs and clubs with state governments wanting to legalise or regulate the machines, online slots or online pokies seem safe. However, the online operators of these casinos that guard online pokie games to players will have a responsibility to ensure that you are gambling responsibly as well as having a duty to prevent any money laundering. In an official study conducted in 2013, it found that 80% of the Australian population partake in gambling in one form of another. However, playing the Australian lottery can also be viewed as a form of gambling, so the figures do need to be taken with a pinch of salt.
The 80% of the Australian population amongst them spend around $18 billion per year when it comes to gambling, making them take the title of betting more per capita than any other country in the world. And despite us not knowing how much was won back from that crazy figure, the average Australian is estimated to lose on average, between $350 and $12,000 per year. However, for once, this doesn’t make them top the list as that goes towards the USA.
Going forward, the popularity of online slots or online pokie machines in Australia is only set to grow with online casino operators becoming more competitive than ever by offering welcome and deposit bonuses as well as tempting punters with loyalty schemes to prevent them gambling elsewhere. However, with most of these online operators operating from abroad, it is hard to judge what the regulation will be like when it comes to helping people gamble responsibly on online pokie machines.