First casino in Australia
Online pokies are one of the favorite pastimes for Australians. These days, to play in a mobile casino, it is enough to have a smartphone or tablet — and you can win real money in the comfort of your own home. However, only a few casual gamblers know that the history of gambling goes back more than a century. Want to know when the first casinos appeared in Australia, and how impressive the evolution of online pokies has been? Then you’re reading the right article.
History of Gambling in Australia
Modern pokies, presented in Australian casinos, owe their existence to mr. Charles Faye. He was a German inventor, who moved to the United States at the end of the XIX century, and first developed the concept of slot machines. His original project was the mechanical device “Liberty Bell” — and yes, it was the first 3-reel pokie in history.
In the middle of the 20th century it was safe to say that Australia is passionate about gambling. Back in 1953, the Aristocrat company presented its first pokies, designed by Joe Heywood, and called “Clubman”. And this despite the fact that gambling and casinos at the time were still outside the law, which means that you could not come to the club and play slot machines for real money. Anyway, it did not take long to wait: three years later, the government of New South Wales officially legalized slot machines. By that time, Aristocrat managed to release another brand, the Clubmaster, and it has become one of the most popular games for Australians.
First legal Australian casino, the “Wrest Point Hotel Casino” in Tasmania, was opened in February 1973, after a several-year campaign for a casino license on the island. But gambling in Australia goes back even further. Since European settlers made their way south from all over the continent, some traditions, including gambling, had been brought with them from their native countries. So popular games in Europe, such as roulette and blackjack, were introduced to the Australian market long before the first legal casinos were opened.
Nowadays, there are more than a dozen casinos in Australia, spread across several of its states and territories. Each part of the country has its own individual gambling laws, either for online and land-based gambling, which means that various types are more popular in some places than in others. This is also applicable to other forms of gambling, such as poker or sports betting.
Evolution of online pokies
Pokies is a purely Australian term, and its origin is still a mystery. There is a strong possibility that it was a result of the last century’s marketing efforts — most commercials and slogans attracting customers to pubs and casinos used the word ”pokies”. Video poker machines, popular at that time, are also a part of the story — perhaps someone’s father or grandfather, trying on a hat in front of the mirror, announced to the wife and kids that he went “to the pokies club”. Either way, the term has survived to the present days, and can be considered as a synonym for the word “slots”, very popular across the European and American continent.
Year by year, the interest in slots grew. Despite the fact that technically the models of that period might not be considered a “breakthrough in history”, the pokies continued to attract new clients. It was a standard list of casino games: 3-reel slot models with a maximum of five paylines — probably modern players would cringe if they saw the assortment. All gameplay was about pulling the handle and waiting for the reels to stop, and if the combination of symbols was unsuccessful — the casino’s slot machines took the money, for which, in fact, and got the nickname “one-armed bandits”.
The emergence of new technologies has become another impetus for the development of industry gambling. The 80-s of the 20-th century was the time when the public became aware of video games. Of course, slot developers could not stay away from the trends. Video slots offered the gameplay familiar to players, but now the number of lines and reels could be more — and, therefore, it became more interesting to play. In addition, there were more bonuses, and we all know that for gamblers gifts from casinos are one of the most attractive offers.
Incidentally, in the early 1990s, several Australian states approved the release of poker machines in pubs. And this dealt a serious blow to the gambling industry, as club owners were not ready for serious competition. However, from the players’ point of view such a development — the number of opportunities to play for real money became even greater.
But the history of pokies did not end with video slots. Truth be told, studying the development of slot machines, you can draw a direct parallel with technological progress, which in the 20th century moved faster than ever. The advent of the Internet turned the game upside down again — slot machines became available to all owners of personal computers connected to the network. Given that the software for video and online pokies practically did not differ, and produced, as a rule, by the same developers, gambling enthusiasts have reached a maximum level of comfort.
The Interactive Gambling Act of 2001
One of the significant restrictions affecting the Australian gambling industry was the so-called IGA — the law passed in 2001. It set a rather amusing precedent: according to the rules, Aussie casinos can’t provide online betting services to Australian players. And this could be considered a logical restriction were it not for the following two facts:
- Online casinos in Australia can accept bets from players from other countries;
- Australian gamblers can place real money bets at foreign casinos (even though it is formally prohibited, the national authorities do not make claims to foreign companies).
In addition, even if a local player uses a local service — he will not be considered a violator of the law. Well, it seems now we know another reason for the popularity of online pokies in Australia.
Modern online pokies
The gambling projects featured in Australia’s leading casinos certainly bear little resemblance to the Liberty Bell. Modern pokies offer great graphics, easy controls, interesting plots and generous bonuses. A variety of themes and new game concepts allow even the most demanding players to find a profitable entertainment to their liking.
The latest milestone in the history of pokies can be considered the emergence of technology HTML5. Thanks to it, modern online slots are easily adapted to mobile devices for Android and iOS, and you can enjoy the game at any time and in any place. Almost everyone has a smartphone or tablet today, so it’s likely that the number of gamblers in Australia will continue to grow.