How Did Australian Pokies Come About?

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Australia is famous for a whole host of things, including hot weather, kangaroos, and of course slot machines, or pokies as Australians like to call them. It's an open secret that Australian pokies are highly popular among Aussies. There are currently more than 200,000 slot machines across Australia, with New South Wales accounting for half of them. These days, Aussies have adopted mobile gaming and now play Australian slots on their smartphones.

Statistics show that there's around one slot machine for every 101 Australians. In addition, nearly 40% of adult Aussies play slots and the average individual wagers around AU$380 every year. While these stats are quite mindboggling, what's the history behind them? Why do Australians love slots so much?

A Brief History of Aussie Slot Machines

In 1895, an American named Charles Fey invented the first slot machine in the U.S. It was known as the Liberty Bell. Less than 10 years later, the first slot machines were shipped to Australia. While gambling and casinos were prohibited at the time, the slot machines instantly became a hit in the underground betting dens.

History of the Name "Pokies"

Although it's not known when the name was first used, it's become the common name for Australian video slots. The games are always called pokies in pub and casino adverts. Once upon a time in Australia, video poker machines, aka "cardies", used to be found in clubs and pubs. They were known as poker machines and that's probably where the term came from.

Like most slang, "poker machines" was shortened to "pokies" by Aussies. Interestingly enough, it's only Australians who seem to use this term since the rest of the world continues to call them slot machines or slots.

Video Slots

The first video poker machines were created in the 1980s and this was considered a revolutionary development since today's pokies are totally different. The development of video poker machines only made the poker games more and more popular in Australia.

In the 1990s, many Australian states passed laws that allowed bar owners to put real money video poker machines and slots in their premises. As a result, the popularity and reputation of Australian pokies grew even further.

Online Slot Machines

When Aussies thought that pokies couldn't be more popular, an even more dramatic development in Aussie slots history came about - the advent of online poker machines. This allowed people to casually enjoy a game of online slots on their desktop computer in the comfort and convenience of their home. Today, hundreds of online slots exist, available at many online casinos. Mobile slot machines were the next natural step in the development of slot machines not only in Australia but also the rest of the globe.

Mobile Slot Machines

Mobile pokies are the latest development in the Aussie pokies history. Starting around the 2010s, you could play slots on your tablet and mobile phone. With the prevalence of Android smartphones and the advancement of mobile phone technology in Australia, the number and quality of mobile slot machines has increased. You get apps for various operating systems, including Android, iOS, Windows and Blackberry, as well as general HTML5 mobile slot machines.

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