An Introduction to Online Pokies

The Brits call them fruit machines. Most others, including the Americans, refer to them as slots. But we know their real name, pokies. You won’t get away with calling them anything but that in front of a Kiwi or Aussie.

That’s because pokies are hugely popular in this part of the world. In New Zealand, consumers spend $7 billion annually on gambling of various sorts. $3.5 billion, i.e. half of the total, is spent on pokies. And Australia has what would make for an interesting pub quiz question: 20% of all pokies in the world, yet only 0.33% of the global population.

In short, pokies are big. They’ve also ‘grown’ beyond the brick-and-mortar establishments of yore, with online pokies now becoming the go-to option for many punters. Whether you’re a complete green newbie or are not quite sure how the online avenues work, this introduction will give you what you need to know.

How to Play Online Pokies

We’re going to get straight to the good stuff. The main thing that’s good to know about online slots is how to get started. If you want a little history lesson, we’ve included that too (but later).

Legit Pokies Only

The problem with the internet is the number of scams you’ll find out there. And just like you’ll find fake banks and low-quality shopping websites, so too will you find slightly dodgy pokie providers.

But luckily, they’re pretty easy to avoid. The main thing you want to do is to find online casinos that have been given the green stamp by the government. Whether you’re playing with a casino based in the UK, New Zealand, Australia, or anywhere else, check that the company is licensed.

In Australia, for example, you can check the Australia Communications and Media Authority for a comprehensive list of providers with an interactive gambling license. This means they have been fully vetted, and your money is safe. The sign-up process is relatively simple, and it’s pretty much a case of following the chosen casino’s on-screen guide.

Quick Gameplay Guide

What’s great about pokies is that the barrier to entry is super low. You don’t have to spend hours examining a rulebook to figure out how the game works. It’s pretty much plug-and-play.

In its most basic form, you just hit that button and go. The slot will be activated and you’ll see the movement of the beautiful graphical elements you get these days, plus the Las Vegas sights and sounds you’re used to.

The main idea is to try and get a combination of symbols, the exact configuration of which is based on the type of slot you’re playing. This can either be the traditional style, where you have different types of fruits (e.g. cherries or oranges), or themed items like film or comic book characters.

The newer games have additional features that require a little bit more thinking. Some will give you an element of choice within bonus games, which adds a skill level and a greater level of chance. This is where strategy comes in, and it all comes down to risk tolerance. For the truly big prizes, you sometimes have to put your bonus on the line.

There’s also what you call a ‘progressive jackpot’, and this is something you’re definitely looking out for. These prizes tend to be quite significant, as they continually ‘progress’ as punters put more money in the pot. The biggest jackpots are in the millions.

The History Lesson: Pokies in Aus and NZ

If you’re a history buff, we’re going to give you a quick rundown of the market in this part of the world. Gambling itself was introduced by the Europeans, and it quickly cemented itself as one of the main entertainment options for locals.

Of course, that doesn’t mean it was always legal. Religion always had a part to play, often blocking public attempts to legalise gambling; this was even an issue as recently as WW1. Even though placing a bet on horse racing is part and parcel of the sport’s culture, it was only legalised well into the 20th century.

Thankfully for most consumers, the tide started to turn in the 1980s. Deregulation became the name of the game, and pokies became ubiquitous in pretty much every bar and casino all over both countries.

The Future of Online Pokies

In short, online pokies are only just taking off, which is a little astounding considering how popular they already are. Top gaming developers, access to high-speed internet, and smartphones with all the bells and whistles are all relatively recent developments that are driving pokies forward. Expect the industry to go into hyperdrive in the next decade.

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