Pokies: History of Australian Gambling Machines
Slot machines have brought joy to the lives of many people since their introduction to the gambling world. No one knew that through many years this simple mechanical device for gambling will become an iconic object for many nations, including Oz.
Widely known as slot machines in the United States, fruit machines in the UK and poker machines or pokies in Australia, slot machines have a long and colorful history, and have come a long way from the first "one-armed bandits" that exposed chewing gums as grant prix.
Today, players can choose from a range of both virtual and real land based slots and dream about the huge, ever-growing jackpots in the case of success.
Origins and first machines
The history of gaming machines in Australia came along with the introduction of slots in the rest part of the world. There is nothing wrong with the name pokies. It's just a slang name of gaming machines in Australia. Moreover, they can be called so in the countries, culturally and geographically related to the Green Continent like New Zealand, for example. The name is not accidentally similar to poker, because such machines are often initially based on mechanical prototypes of machines for modern video poker. So, nowadays pokies resemble of two kinds of gambling equipment, slots and video poker and share a single name — pokie machines.
The first purely local machine for the game, however, was officially manufactured by Aristocrat. The creators of this company predicted that the gambling in Australia would have a great future, and invested a lot of money in the development of their own product. The first Australian slot or pokies was called the Clubman and was designed by Joe Haywood.
Pokies history starts here
Although the first slot machines could certainly be brought to Australia before World War II, yet, the official history of Green Continent slots began in 1956. It was when for the first time devices were legalized in the state of New South Wales. As it had been said before, the game received the name 'pokies' because of the similarity with poker. Pretty soon a new kind of entertainment was spread throughout the Australian pubs and clubs, naturally, starting with the state which first legalized it.
Casinos were banned in Oz until 1973. However, Australians preferred to gamble in special clubs for which substantial concessions were made by the state authorities. Most of these institutions were located in Sydney and all around the nearest New South Wales suburbs. Some of them could hardly be called casinos in the European scope: the largest and most famous superclub was located in Club of St George League. Initially, these institutions were created in Australia as an alternative to purely beer, food services of popular pubs and occasional cash games, including slot machines, etc. However, by the end of the 1960s the largest and most visited clubs almost totally turned to prosperous gambling parlors in pursuit of profit.
After the opening of first Tasmania casino in 1973, gambling in Australia was rapidly transformed. Aristocrat Leisure Limited received a substantial fiscal stimulus and later was able to present the world with five-drum slots, the follower of which was Sizzling Hot slot machine, and many other modern games. But this is a story of the later years.
They say, Volcano pokies were the first games that appeared in Australia in the early 1990s. They functioned in the country illegally, which, however, had no effect on their rabid and high demand. There was evidence that the first local slot machine had been made three years before the adoption of the New South Wales Law resolution on pokies. It was called the Clubman and was designed by an Australian craftsman Joe Haywood.
The pokies machine had a resounding success further on. Two years later, the Aristocrat company released an improved version of the game called Clubmaster. After a full legalization of slot machines in the state of New South Wales, the degree of population involvement in gambling dramatically increased and occupied an entire continent. Since then, it has been steadily growing for 30 years. All this time pokies format has been based on a three-reel drum, using one, three or five paylines. Jackpots were small, and the launch of the game was traditionally carried out with the notorious one arm.
Pokies modern age
Since the beginning of the gradual substitution of the old fashioned outdated electromechanical slot machine models with the new video screens in the 1980s, pokies have undergone irreversible changes. As a result, they acquired innovation features, variations with more gaming options, five reels and an impressive number of pay lines. Soon, rounds of free spins and bonus games were added to the game play. A more sophisticated look, modern models and increased jackpots much contributed into the interest of the game around the world.
Following Volcano pokies designed in the mid-1990s, the new games appeared on the Internet. Initially rapid distribution of the local gambling made the experts believe that Australia would become the center of the global online gaming business. However, the government in Canberra had a different point of view. In 2000 and 2001 a couple of acts prohibiting the provision of on-line rates for the citizens of the country were adopted. Because of this, the Australians had to look for the joy in offshore places. The international casinos, although offered international models of slot machines, still were able to offer special interface versions for Australian customers called the game of pokies.
Len Ainsworth was a co-founder of the well-known gaming company Aristocrat Leisure Limited of Australia. This company is truly a godfather of modern Asutralian pokies. Surprisingly, but for his enthusiasm, we would unlikely have the opportunity to play premium slots such as Dolphin's Pearl Deluxe. However, it was still too long till the fateful pokies highlights of multiple reel introduction and online pokies release. They began to engage in the production of such equipment in 1953, and since then have been encouraging consumers with high quality manufactured products annually.
Since 1953 for about four decades Aristocrat has been enjoying a monopoly position on the native continent. Today, only the American giant IGT is ahead of 'aristocrats' by the number of different types of video slots established in Australia. Aristocrat headquarters, as well as another company founded by Ainsworth - Ainsworth Game Technology, is located in Sydney.
The first and unquestionable advantage was the fact that the company drew attention to consumer devices. The qualities that perfectly convey the picture and have a good sound system are much liked by users. Also, for those who are not able to purchase slot machines, or play in clubs, the creators promote games online: all versions of popular new products are available to the users especially. They can be installed on their phones, tablets or laptops. Aristocrat pokies machines can be sold to any website. They enjoy enormous popularity.
Today, machines are installed in casinos, and even in some shopping centers in order to allow visitors to have fun whenever they are throughout the continent.
Australian pokie facts today
Aristocrat company nowadays produces new Australian pokies and is one of the leading slot providers worldwide. The range of products offered has gradually expanded, and games for mobile phones are constantly improved. That's why the company still occupies a leading position on the market that offers such products on the niche.
- Pokies remain games entertainment industry which is one of the most popular in Europe.
- Slots made by Aristocrat, despite many changes, still haven't lost their relevance.
- At Aristocrat slot machines, the prices vary depending on what the characteristics of the devices are.
- Aristocrat company remains the second of most famous pokie places in the world. The first belongs to IGT gaming machines.
- Since 1996, the company has been quoted on the stock exchange of the continent of Australia, and since then have built offices in Macau, UK, Japan, America, Sweden, and even Eastern Europe.
- The company can confidently be called a leading supplier in its field. All units are equipped with high-quality LCD displays that have a high resolution, high quality images and sound effects.
- Any specialized site can buy Aristocrat slot machines today.
- Unlike the leading IGT, which cooperates with many other software developers, Aristocrat company creates and develops games and updates their own devices themselves.
How do modern pokies look like?
There are 5 reels, which are equipped with approximately 20 paylines on. Under the drums you can see the control panel, on which the necessary buttons for games are situated. It is possible to startup and play games in the "risk" mode, after each successful spin. "Help" button is designed specifically for the user to be able to view a list of payments made.
Slot machines made by Aristocrat combine high quality, nice layout design, and affordable prices. That's why they are so popular around the world.
To sum up
Gambling is more popular in Australia than anywhere else in the world. Mostly, it's due to pokie games so much adored by Australians at home. Currently, almost 65% of the population is carried away by various kinds of gambling entertainments, and pokies are among them. Many of them play at different establishments over the years, having not only maximum fun, but also good money prizes. People from all around the globe visit both land based and online casino halls and like to spend their time at pokie machines. A wide range of machines and excellent functionality of online resources allow them to earn good money at the casinos and enjoy their lives to the fullest. Many people like Len Ainsworth managed to make this business the main source of income not only for themselves but also for their friends or families. Unquestionably, pokies have had a long and colorful history in the world gambling.
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Good luck, you guys!