How Queenslanders Made the Government Allow Pokies


Gambling is quite popular in Australia, with over 80% of adults participating. About 62% of annual gambling revenue in the area comes from the 4% of adults who play the pokies in a club at least once a week.

Regarding pokies, Queensland is among the many Australian strongholds that generate revenue of millions of dollars annually. It is unclear when or why pokies became popular in the Sunshine State. Let’s look at how the people of Queensland convinced their government to legalise Pokies.

Before the Advent of Pokie Machines

It wasn’t until the 1950s that pokie machines became widely available in Australia. Before that time, the only type of gambling available in Australia was in-house cards and dice games. With time, however, they were forbidden by the government.

The pokie machines debuted in the Australian state of New South Wales in 1956. Legislators at the time fiercely argued over this implementation, which nearly failed. But revenue and tourist numbers rose, resulting in the state eventually accepting the decision to permit gambling in Queensland clubs. If you want to learn more about the fascinating history and impact of pokie machines in Australia, you can learn more here.

Today, thanks to technological advancements, gambling has widely spread. Most people prefer gambling in real money casino Australia due to the many advantages that come with them, such as convenience, security, variety to choose from, promotions, and bonuses.

When Did Pokies Start in Queensland?

Queensland was one of the early states to legalise and adopt poker machine gaming in Australia. Afterward, poker machines were introduced in New South Wales and Tasmania. This decline in revenue was primarily attributable to the massive migration of Queenslanders.

After that, the State government of Queensland started bringing in revenue again through gambling in the mid-1980s by legalising commercial gambling establishments. Poker machines, however, had become the norm as the state eventually passed legislation legalising gaming machines in 1992.

It wasn’t until 1992 that Queensland State officially allowed the ownership and use of pokie gambling machines in any club. This, however, took place after commercial casinos had been legally sanctioned for a while. The first and the oldest physical casino in Queensland was established, and at this location, gaming was legalised for locals to begin partaking in.

The Star Gold Coast

It is located in Australia and was established in 1985. It was initially referred to as Jupiter’s Hotel and Casino Club and received legal recognition by the Queensland government as the first commercial casino in the state in February 1986.

Its grand opening was successful, as more than 10,000 people attended. Weekly poker machine play was permitted for state residents; however, they were bound by rules and regulations to follow.

Legalisation of Pokie Machines in Queensland

Former Premier Wayne Goss played a huge role in the legislation to legalise poker machines. Goss was appointed in 1989 and retired in February 1996. He argued that the poker machine ban should be legalised because it was already a state Labor policy.

However, he voiced his displeasure by terming the machines “a scourge,” expressing his view that they were more harmful than helpful. The main point was that people who play poker machines regularly are financially strapped.

The Queensland government has long sought to limit the availability of poker machines within the state’s borders. Several legislations have been put in place to control the gambling industry, which include:

  • Wagering Act 1998
  • Cairns Casino Agreement Act 1993
  • Gaming Machine Act 1991
  • Breakwater Island Casino Agreement Act 1984
  • Keno Act 1996
  • Charitable and Non-Profit Gaming Act 1999
  • Jupiters Casino Agreement Act 1983
  • Brisbane Casino Agreement Act 1992
  • Lotteries Act 1997
  • Interactive Gambling (Player Protection) Act 1998
  • Casino Control Act 1982

Problems Facing Pokie Players in Queensland

The revenue of the poker machine has increased dramatically for the industry since its legalisation in 1992. Despite the advantages of the pokie machines, they have caused adverse effects on Queensland and Australia as a whole. One of the central problem gamblers faces, especially those in lower and moderate-income brackets, is the significant losses they incur when they lose while playing.

There have been enormous losses in the Sunshine State during the last five years. By 2021, Queensland residents had lost $2.7 billion on poker machines alone, different from the $15 billion earned by American gamblers who had wagered against casino inflation.

Former Premier Mr. Goss called poker machines in the state a scourge due to this and the rising number of problem gamblers who suffer losses while playing weekly. Overall, the amount of revenue locals lose when playing poker games is enormous, tarnishing the industry’s heritage.

Solutions to Pokie Problems

With the rise of online gambling, many sites have emerged; some are legitimate, while others are there to defraud novice online players. Some of the tips you can utilize include:

  • Play in regulated casinos/ machines – To get fair and no foul play.
  • Play in licensed casinos– This will ensure your winnings are safe and are paid out in time.
  • Play within your budget– It will prevent you from using up all your money.
  • Take a break– When you start making losses, take a breather or stop playing altogether.
  • Only wager what you are willing to lose– It’s essential only to risk what you can afford to lose.
  • Be a part of a gambling community– It will help control your gambling habits.
  • Stay away from the club/ casinos with the highest poker machine returns.

Advantages of Playing With Pokie Machines

Despite the many problems the game has brought to Queensland, playing the game has advantages, especially since it is now available in an online variant. Some of the benefits of playing include:

  • You have a wide variety to choose from
  • You can enjoy the game from anywhere in the world; it’s not a must you visit a physical club to access the games.
  • You have the option of wagering real money and winning and also playing free.
  • You don’t have to spend time in the club/ casinos waiting for a machine to be empty; the online option allows you to play any time and any day.

Tips for Winning in a Pokie Machine

There is no exact method to ensure you will win, but you can maximise your chances in several ways:

  • Select the best machine. Playing with the proper machine is crucial to winning a lot of revenue.
  • Take as much time as you can when playing. Your odds of winning the jackpot or a substantial amount from a machine increase the longer you play.
  • Be mindful of your financial situation. Never risk losing all your money. Instead of doubling down, switch machines if you find yourself losing money.

Random Facts You Didn’t Know About Pokies in Australia

Pokie machinesHome to 196,900 poker machines: 92,012 in New south Wales, 46,663 in Queensland, and 28,860 in Victoria
LossPoker machines in bars and hotels cost Aussies A$11 billion in 2013–14. Casinos offering poker machines were estimated to have lost A$1.5 billion.
Concentration of poker machineThe highest concentration of poker machines per individual in the world, i.e., a single machine per 114 people.
Gambling rate20-30 percent of Australian adults (excluding those in Western Australia) use poker machines annually. The 4% of gamblers who partake in the activity at least once per week are predicted to lose between A$7000 and A$8000 annually.
Location of pokie machinesThe majority of Australia’s poker machines can be found in low-income areas. Losses in 2010-2011 ranged from A$270 in affluent Ku-ring-gai and Willoughby to A$2340 in comparatively poor Fairfield in Western Sydney.

Playing poker machines at the largest wager size and maximum pace makes losing A$1500 every hour easy. Gamblers using this strategy risk losing more or less money than usual due to the random nature of the short-term returns from poker machine play.

70 percent of Australians believe that gambling should be more strictly monitored. 74 percent support that there should be player restrictions to spending a sum they choose before gaming, indicating widespread support for reforming poker machines in the country.

1992 saw the progressive migration of pokies to the Sunshine State from New South Wales. They were initially intended as a financial incentive. The legalisation and proliferation of commercial gambling establishments paved the way for this.

Despite some adverse negative side effects, many people have benefited from playing poker here. The rise of poker games and Queensland clubs is a fascinating story regarding its origins and timing.

Shashank Sharma
Shashank is a tech expert and writer with over 8 years of experience. His passion for helping people in all aspects of technology shines through his work. He is also the author of the book "iSolution," designed to assist iPhone users. Shashank has completed his master's in business administration, but his heart lies in technology & Gadgets.

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