Slot Machines in the Land Down Under

In Australia, slot machines are also known as poker machines or pokies, somewhat a weird name for a very popular game. Australian slot machines have video displays with up to five reels. Poker machines also feature several enhancements like free games and bonus rounds, and allow multiple paylines (as much as fifty) as well as multiple ways of playing (as much as 240).

These complex machines, although a boon for casino and club operators, have become a target of complaints and protests from cause-oriented groups who claim that these machines are contributing to the increasing incidence of problem gambling in the country. This is not surprising as Australia has one of the world's highest per capita concentrations of slot machines.

Laws and regulations governing gambling and slot machines differ from state to state. The state of New South Wales, for example, legalized poker machines in 1956 and allowed them in registered clubs and pubs. The state of Queensland requires casinos to set a payback rate of at least 90%, and 60% for poker machines located in clubs and pubs.

In Australia, slot machines and other casino games have become a booming industry. Proof of this is the fact that poker machines can now be found in almost all casinos and clubs across the country, in almost every major city in Australia. This has alarmed certain sectors of society, which claim that the widespread accessibility of poker machines has caused a rise in cases of problem gambling. Most gamblers say that poker machines are the biggest offenders when it comes to the problem of gambling addiction in the country.

Gambling addiction is a problem that can be solved if people are made aware of the consequences of their actions and seek professional help. The increase in problem gamblers in Australia has also given rise to the establishment of support and counseling groups that help problem gamblers overcome their addiction.

Although Australia has one of the highest concentrations of slot machines in the world, the rules and regulations governing the availability of poker machines in the Land Down Under has been quite relaxed compared with other countries like the United States. This has not escaped the attention of many people especially the clergy and the charitable foundations, who have complained about their accessibility among even ordinary people. There are now moves among some groups to make the laws stricter for operators and owners of multi-hand slot machines.

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