Pokie is the name given to casino slot games in Australia and New Zealand, where the game has been enjoyed for a number of decades. Here is a history of pokies and how it evolved into a game played predominantly online.
The history of pokies in Australia and New Zealand
In the 1950s, pokies were first introduced to Australia in the Tasmania region by a gaming company known as Aristocrat. Then in 1956, New South Wales became the first place in the country to officially legalise slot gaming, and it would be until four decades later that a number of other territories followed in their footsteps.
The first machines were the Clubmaster and would be considered to be pretty basic by today’s standards. These machines had three reels and a lever on the side, their reels had fruit and poker card symbols.
Three decades following the introduction of slot machines, video style pokies became popular. These electronic games are easier to use and the reel spins at the push of a button rather than the pull of a lever.
These machines have more reels and even more pay lines, this gives players even more opportunities to win the game. Designs also became more vibrant and interesting in this era with fun themes based on popular culture and media.
It was around this time that New Zealand introduced pokies to their gambling scene.
It was the early 1990s when local Australian governments and local regions began to recognise pokie machines in the law. First, Victoria and Queensland legalised pokies in 1991 and South Australia followed a year later.
In New Zealand, there were now pokie machines in a number of locations, including Queenstown, Auckland, Hamilton, Christchurch and Dunedin. Playing on pokies machines was legal too.
By the late 1990s both Tasmania and the Northern Territory in Australia had legalised the use of pokie machines. In the present day, there are a huge variety of video pokies, they have continued to improve as the technology behind them advances and designers get more creative with their appearance.
There are now just less than 200,000 video pokie machines in operation in Australia in land-based casinos and it is estimated that there are around 15,000 in New Zealand.
Playing pokie games online
While you may find pokie machines in pubs, clubs and TABs, these days you do not even need to leave the house to play a game of slots. You can now easily play pokies online on an online casino. Many of these online casinos also offer promotions to new players to trial out pokies games, one of the most popular offered by many casinos are free spins, these can be used to play and trial a pokies game for free.
The first pokie games online were released shortly after the introduction of the World Wide Web in the 1990s, at the beginning there wasn’t a huge range of choice and game features were quite basic.
Online pokies have come a long way since this time. As the internet has developed, so have pokies and now there are thousands of pokie games to play, each with vibrant graphics, sound effects and exciting features such as wild cards and free spins.
Some of the newest innovations include virtual reality pokies and hybrid games such as slingo. Slingo is a combination of slots and the popular game bingo.
Online pokie playing quickly overtook traditional pokie gaming and the industry has boomed as access to smartphones, tablets and laptops has grown over the years. But why do people choose to play the internet version of the game?
Convenience of the game
One of the biggest benefits of playing pokies online rather than in a land-based venue is convenience. Our lives have become increasingly busy over the years and many of us find ourselves rushing between work and home and completing day-to-day life tasks.
Online pokie games can be played wherever and whenever is most convenient for the player, this might be on public transport, while waiting in a line at the supermarket or whilst relaxing at home. All that is needed is a device to play on and a reliable internet connection.
Travelling to a land-based venue to play on these machines costs time and extra money, that is why many people will reserve playing on physical pokie machines for social occasions or played trips out.
Wide selection of games online
The internet also has a much wider selection of games, as naturally online pokie operators are not limited by physical space and have less to pay in terms of business overhead costs.
Players can also access games from overshore casinos, giving them the opportunity to play pokies with a huge range of themes, features and prizes.
Access to promotions and bonuses
The online pokie industry is particularly competitive for pokie operators. As demand for these games has skyrocketed, more and more game developers and operators have entered the market. As a result, online pokies generally run great promotions and bonus offers to entice new players and maintain a competitive edge. When looking for online games, it is a good idea to use a comparison site to compare offers and find pokie sites that will give you free spins for signing up and playing games.