Slots machines or the Pokies as the Australians call them, are the most popular sport among the aforementioned population. And that is a significant statistic, simply because sometime two years ago, it was discovered that at least 70% of the population gambles at the Australian real money casino sites often, bets or wagers at some point during their year. That is around 17 million people who enjoy themselves a good betting game, and if slots are incredibly popular even in a fraction of that number, it means they are getting a lot of attention and traction on a yearly basis.
This is probably why the Australian government has been keeping such a close eye on the industry, and it is also probably why we should be looking forward to what is to come within the industry, even if it spells trouble.
Mostly a machine industry
The slots industry has for a long time been dominated by machines. In Australia especially, you would be able to find thousands of machines in most major cities, allowing players the variety in design and game style that we all know pokie fans love. Some of the major slots machines manufacturers have made tens of millions of dollars in a single year, simply selling these machines within Australia. The demand has always been incredibly high and, as a result, the profits have been driven to be high as well. Except, things are changing.
In a recent interview, a representative from Ainsworth Game Technology, talked about how the revenues within the industry were decreasing. According to him, this is the result of the political approach that the country’s representatives are taking towards the industry. The government has been putting more effort into their attempt to make the slots machines less popular, as they believe the industry to be a drain on the economy. So they have been placing restrictions on advertising and on the when and where the pokies can be allowed and played.
The result? A decrease in demand. Fewer people want to go through the trouble of getting to a machine and playing with it. Fewer still want to deal with the regulations that are inherent in providing the slots games to users. So, what we get, is a decreasing machine slots industry. But the gambling is seemingly not abating. The number of people who gamble in a year has not decreased and it does not seem like it will be decreasing any time soon. But where are these people going, and how are they still playing?
The new age of pokies
The answer to the seemingly confusing conundrum queried above is within the new age technologies. These people are going online to play their favorite games. This is easier, faster and just as fun as the machines. And this even despite the strict limitations that the Australian government has levied upon online casinos. In 2017, a reform was brought into IGA (interactive Gambling Act) of 2001. These reforms made it illegal for Australian companies to offer gambling services to Australian clients. And yet this did not close the market. Instead, it opened the market up to international companies that were looking to expand within the country. With the local competition outlawed, these companies flooded the market with their own offers, unabated and unlimited.
With the additional restrictions placed on Machine poker games, the users started to see value even in the foreign online casinos. They started spending more time with them and less time with actual machines. The result is that the revenues of the machine pokies got transferred into the online gambling websites, ones that are not even Australian. And this is a trend that is only going to stay. While nothing might be able to supplant the feeling of pulling a lever on a slots machine, the ease and convenience of digital experience will also always outweigh the cost of getting to a machine. After all, if you can play without leaving the house and having to endure the heat, you are probably going to pick that over having to travel for 30 minutes in order to get to the nearest machine.
Digital pokies are the future
And with this trend being as strong as it is, it seems that there won’t be much of a place for slot machines in the future. Maybe they will be relegated to those physical casinos that like to keep the vintage feel, or novelty, of getting to play with a physical machine. But the majority of the casino slot gaming in Australia and in the world will have moved into the digital shape. Digital is cheaper to play and cheaper to host, after all, and thus it will be the future.
How will this affect the Australian industries? Well, if the trend persists and the country remains adamant in its decision to keep casinos foreign, it is likely that the industry within Australia will suffer greatly. While the industry might be replaced by some other major industry, the disappearance of an entire manufacturing sector might hit the economy a little hard for a time.
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