Aussies still love pokies – just not in the way we used to
The last few years have seen a noticeable change in the gambling habits of Australians. Not that Aussies like a punt any less – far from it – but it does seem that where and how we are having a bet is changing.
Despite that fact that Australians per capita spend more on gambling than any other country in the world, the federal and state governments are making less money from gambling revenue than has previously been the case.
This is in large part due to the increasing popularity of online casinos; although it is perfectly legal for Australians to play at online casinos based outside of the country, they cannot be operated from within Australia and so this means that all the revenue generated from online casinos in fact goes offshore.
For instance. Australians have long been in love with pokie machines. Although not legal until introduced into NSW clubs in 1956, pokies have been around since the 1890s, when illegal machines first made their way to the country from the US. However, although our enthusiasm for pokies is not on the wane, it seems that younger players are looking for a different experience and are increasingly turning to online casinos to play pokies rather than the more traditional venues such as clubs, pubs and casinos.
But what is driving the shift in gaming habits? Better returns is undoubtedly a factor. Land-based poker machines are mandated to offer a return to player percentage (RTP) of between 85%–90%, but online pokies can offer RTP in excess of 95%.
Another development that is proving especially popular with younger players is the growing number of themed pokies, where hit TV, film and video game franchises are converted into poker machine games, often faithfully recreating the look, feel and narratives of the original media. In this way, Australian online casinos, like spin palace and jackpot city, are successfully adapting to a new social and entertainment environment in a way that more traditional land-based casinos, pubs and clubs are not able to do. For more insight on popular online casino brands in Australia visit this review.
The improvement in mobile technology and the increasing number of online casinos dedicated to mobile gambling has also meant more Australian players accessing online casinos from a greater variety of devices, such as smartphones and tablets. 2014 was the first year where more people worldwide accessed the internet from mobile devices rather than desktops and so online casinos have been proactive in developing sites that look and play as well on a smartphone as they do on a bigger screen, and with great success.
Sign-up bonuses, and the opportunity to play with free casino money (although unsurprisingly these offers come with a plethora of strings attached) also has great appeal and is an enticement that traditional pokies venues can’t match. Please refer to pokiesstop.com.au for more info on Australian pokies brands with special bonus offers.
These factors have combined to see online casinos increasingly becoming the gaming venue of choice for Australians, in particular the younger end of the market who are already used to betting on AFL and NRL matches and horse racing via smartphone apps, and for whom playing pokies online is the next logical step.
Whether policy makers can intervene in such a way to see the revenue that is currently heading offshore through remote gambling make its way back into the Treasury’s coffers remains to be seen. But what is clear is that the gambling landscape has changed and that the online world is, as is so often the case, ahead of the pack when it comes to adaptation and giving the punters that they want.
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