ALL ABOUT SLOT MACHINES
Australian slot machines
Called poker machines or "pokies" in Australia, the country has one of the highest concentration of poker machines per head of population in the world, with changes in regulations leading to a profusion of poker machine venues across the country. Various objectors, including many branches of the clergy and also charities for the poor, have criticised the spread of the machines, as they claim that it has led to a huge rise in the levels of "problem gambling" - gambling to a level that causes financial and social stress to the gambler and their families, as well as the general levels of gambling.
Australian-style poker machines use video displays to simulate (usually) five physical reels. These machines also have additional bonusing and second-screen features such as free games and bonus levels. They also allow for multiple lines (up to 50) or multiple ways (up to 243 ways) to be played. This higher level of complexity has meant that greater revenues can be obtained by operators, but also that the potential for problem gambling to develop is increased.
Poker machines are found in casinos (approximately one in each major city) as well as pubs and clubs (usually sports, social, or RSL clubs). This greater accessibililty is also seen as a potential contributor to problem gambling.
Most problem gamblers attending counselling through Gamblers Help (http://www.ghsouthern.org.au) report poker machines as the problematic form of gambling. Due to this there is a significant focus on the regulation of multi hand poker machines, and many groups are advocating for legislative change.