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Why are online slots called online pokies in New Zealand and Australia?

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The history of gambling in NZ and Australia is interesting. Games of luck have been with mankind for a very long time.  The name pokie is most likely derived from the slang for the poker game. These were initially slot game machines that were often placed in bars and pubs for the entertainment of the patrons. They tended to be rudimentary machines with a handle that would spin three reels. Informally, some patrons would simply tell their buddies, “I am going out for a round of pokies”. The name stuck.

Although slot machines first appeared in Australia in the 1900’s they were illegal. New South Wales in 1956 legalized gambling, paving the way for the ballooning of the industry across Australia and New Zealand. By 1999, over 180,000 slot and pokies machines were in operation in Australia. This was 5 times more than those found in the USA. Indeed, there were more slot machines in Australia than in Las Vegas.

Slots vs pokies in Australia and New Zealand

If you are wondering whether there is something that makes the name pokies special, here is some light to it. A theory exists about the origin of the word pokies. In the past, all slot machines worked by using coins, which players had to put in. if they won, coins would come falling out for them to collect.

Some people believe that the word pokies originated from players poking their fingers at the slot machines trying to get them to pay them out in coins at random. As cheeky as this might sound, it makes some sense.

Online slots and online pokies

With the onset of the 1990s, more features were added to the machines such as lights. With the rise of technology, the gambling experience was made more interactive with the addition of sound effects as well as themes from well-known stories, movies and heroes. The gambling industry also got more streamlined with laws and new regulations coming up to take protect the gamer from unscrupulous business practices.

For instance, slot machines that were taking $100 notes were banned in Australia in 2007 after it was discovered that some gambling addicts were quickly getting into a financial mess when they played the machines on autoplay. In essence, the slots and pokies machines are no different. The difference lies in terminology. The Kiwis and Aussies call their slot machines “pokies” while the rest of the world calls them “slots”.

Another difference lies in the localized rules and regulations put in place in Australia and New Zealand to support gamers. For example, some machines will alert the player when he has been playing for an extended period. Others will also display the money lost over an extended period. This hopefully makes the gamer more disciplined. The graphics and themes in pokies that appeal to the Aussie payer are likely to be the ones he is familiar with.

The appeal of slots and pokies is that the player does not have to over-think to win. The gamer simply places their odds and then sets the reels spinning. The player can also set the machine to autoplay. The player places a lump sum of money and the machine will deduct a small amount at regular intervals to set the reels spinning. Winnings are added to the lump sum and the gamer can stop the auto-play at any stage and collect their winning.

From brick and mortar to virtual and mobile

Before the onset of technology, pokies were often played in clubs, pubs and casino buildings. With the development of the internet, people can access their favorite game from the comfort of their computers. As mobile devices became more powerful, the gambling industry has taken note of and developed apps that allow their clients to ply wherever and whenever they please

Today’s games also have options of hundreds of pay lines that are a far call from the traditional three-reel classic game. Although there are still brick and mortar casinos where the players play within buildings, other gambling companies have their business online. Each of these options has its appeal but the important thing is that gamers have a lot of choices.

How to find the best online pokie experience in Australia and New Zealand

Pokies don’t only have a unique name- they also hold a special place in the hearts of Kiwis and Aussie bettors. Online pokies are more popular in New Zealand than anywhere else in the world. In New Zealand, Kiwis view playing pokies as nearly a national pastime.

When it comes to the types of pokies you can find in these two countries, the selection is massive. You will find numerous legal online casinos that offer Aussies and Kiwis exceptional betting experiences. Players enjoy both classics and new releases of their favorite pokie games to choose from these casinos.

Some of these games come with jackpots that can make players millionaires. Some of the most popular online casinos in NZ include Spin Casino, Jackpot City and Leo Vegas, while most Aussies enjoy trying their luck at Playamo, Joe Fortune, Fair Go Casino and Wild Card City. Some of the most enjoyed pokies titles in both countries include Book of Dead, Gonzo’s Quest, Mega Moolah and Dead or Alive.

Story by Veronica Bella


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