Why Are Pokies So Popular in Australia?

Australia has so many natural resources, and breathtaking sceneries and has become a well-liked travel destination. It has so many tourist destinations but casinos are the place where the majority of tourists gather. Every year, more than 10 million people travel to Australia, and more than half of them gamble.

Statistics say that pokies are the most played casino game. And if you don’t have a pokie machine near you, don’t worry – now casinos offer online pokies and everyone can try their hands on this fun game.

What are pokies?

Australians call slot machines “pokies” and they are widely available online. The term is most likely short for “poker machines”. You will find them in towns, large cities, hotels, and bars. In many cities, you will come across a VIP room or a VIP Lounge that has pokie machines. 

History of Pokies in Australia

The company, Aristocrat Gaming, was responsible for bringing the first pokies to Tasmania in the 1950s. New South Wales legalized money gambling on these pokies in 1956. In the 1990s many other areas also made the same decision and legalized gambling.

Pokies were mechanically built in the 1950s. Now, we have digital machines. Back then, the machines had three reels and a lever, the icons on the reels were mostly eye-catching poker symbols and fruits.

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Impact of pokies on the gambling industry in Australia

Australia has a lesser population than America and still has more pokies than any other nation. The bulk of machines is located in hotels and clubs rather than casinos.

Australia’s casinos: Crown Casino, Melbourne, and Jupiter’s Casino, Gold Coast have more visitors than the Sydney Opera House. 

Playing Pokies Today in Australia

The pokies industry in Australia is in such fantastic shape, they have around 200k slot machines. This number is unmatched when compared to other countries. 

Australia is ranked sixth globally, and has become a popular gambling destination, attracting many visitors worldwide. The country is known for its nightlife, which includes clubs, bars, restaurants, and carnival – with pokies being a favorite for players in many. 

Free Online Pokies Trivia

Did you know how slot machines got their names? Well, it can be owed to the fact that we insert coins in the “slot.” It is a shortened form of ‘nickel-in-the-slot machine,’ which is quite a mouthful.

1. First Slot Machines were toys

Interestingly, the first-ever slot machines created around the 1880s were simple toys. Upon inserting coins or tokens, the toys inside would dance or chase each other. In other places like saloons or bars, the slots were used for wagering between patrons. The winner was rewarded drinks, cigars, or tokens that could be exchanged for drinks. Some of the symbols that were used on the reels around this time survive to this day on the so-called “fruit machines”.

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2. Origin of the Gambling Slot Machines

Charles August Fey was the genius who came with the idea of a coin-operated slot machine in the gambling context. After the first machine’s massive success, he built the first three-reeled machine that paid out cash in 1898. It was called Card Bell as the reels had playing card icons.

Right after Card Bell, Fey brought Liberty Bell into existence. Crafted in 1899, Liberty Bell sported symbols like bells, horseshoes, and playing cards symbols. If you managed to line up three bells, then you will be rewarded the highest payout!

Due to the tragic earthquake that hit San Francisco, only four slot machines survived out of the hundreds Fey had created. However, Fey’s machines had caught the fancy of many saloon patrons, and competitors like the Chicago-based Mills Novelty imitated the product.


So, why are pokies so common in Australia? From easier access to internet gaming options, to better regulation, and legalization, the gambling industry has grown significantly over the years.