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History of Pokies

The term 'the pokies' is a common expression used in Australia for slot machines. The term is believed to have come from a time where video poker machines were also available in bars and clubs across Australia and the locals would say ''I am off to the pub/club to play the pokies'', pokies being slang for video poker machines. Slot machines were then introduced and as they became more and more popular, the term 'the pokies' soon became common slang and to this very day is a term used all over Australia for slot machines.

The first slot machine - The Liberty Bell was invented in 1895 by a car mechanic from San Francisco, California, USA called Charles Fay. The machine was a 3 reeled slot, with horseshoes, spades, diamonds and heart symbols on the reels along with liberty bells. 3 liberty wells would give the lucky player the jackpot which back then was fifty cents or ten nickels, a little different to the huge progressive jackpots found these days in land based casinos and at online casinos. The machine was soon banned in Fey’s state however demand for the machines from other areas remained and he worked hard to keep up with the orders. The original Liberty Bell slot machine can still be seen to this day at Liberty Belle Saloon and Restaurant in Reno, Nevada.

Due to the high demand and huge success many other manufacturing companies soon began to copy the idea and the term ‘bell’ popped up on many new machines. One example of this was ‘the operator bell’ produced by Herbert Mills from Chicago. By 1908 these machines were everywhere, from bowling alleys to brothels to Saloons, bars and restaurants. The speed they spread and popularity was quite incredible.

It wasn’t until the early 1900’s that the first pokie machine reached Australia. At the time it was illegal to play the pokie slot machines on Australian soil.

In the 1950’s Aristocrat (an Australian based company) created their own machine, ‘the Clubman’. This was soon improved and 2 years later the 'Clubmaster’ followed. In 1956 the Australian government finally legalized the popular pokie machines in the state of New South Wales (NSW). Since then the pokies have popped up in almost every pub and sporting club across Australia. By 1999 Australia had around 180,000, 90,000 were in New South Wales. This made up of around 21% of the worlds pokie machines, giving Australia 5 times more pokie machines than the USA.

It was estimated that during 2002-03 AU$4 billion was collected by the government from gambling profit.

It wasn’t long before the online casinos realised the demand to play the pokies and soon began creating games which are available to play on both downloaded software and instant play. Since then players across the world have been able to enjoy many australia pokies online for free and for real money at a selection of casinos.

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