19 Apr

February 2015 Pokies News Roundup

The world of pokies is one that is constantly changing, with new technologies, new machines and new casinos cropping up all of the time. In this article we will take a look at the latest news concerning these machines, all of which was announced in February 2015.


Tasmanians in the Red


At the beginning of the month new figures were released that revealed Tasmanians had lost over $200 million on pokies over the previous 13 months. That adds ups to a total of around $16 million a month, which is some figure when you consider that there are only around 3,500 pokies in the state of Tasmania. The majority of this money was pocketed by the Federal Group, a company that pretty much runs the show when it comes to pokies in Tasmania.


This news came as a warning sign to those in charge, as gambling addiction is on the rise in the state. It has been estimated that there are over 2,500 problem gamblers in the state, and with that estimate comes the warning that for every single gambling addict, up to ten other people (their friends, family, colleagues, etc.,) may also be affected. That means that as many as 25,000 people in the state could be suffering as a result of gambling addiction, which equates to around 5% of the total population. The fact that any of these are children is also alarming and doesn’t bode well for the future.


The problem here is clearly not gabling itself, but the people who are gambling when they should not be. But, it is much harder to stop those who are susceptible to addiction from gambling than it is to illegalize gambling altogether, so this news might well create issues for all other gamblers in Tasmania and across Australia.


More Dark Days for Pokie Fans


More news released this month that will not please Aussie pokie fans concerns a sports club in north-west Victoria. The club, the Swan Hill, is located in Robinvale and had recently been given permission to put some more pokies on its premises, as many other clubs around Australia have also been allowed to do. This was not a huge step up, and the total pokies onsite merely moved from 50 to 70, but with permission came media attention, and it wasn’t positive.


One gambling researcher was quoted as saying that the additional pokies would spell very bad news for the local community that the sports club serves. The issue that the researcher has is that although these machines will attract more money, that money will be taken from the pockets of people who can’t really afford to lose a lot in the first place. With that money gone, it will mean those people may miss out on being able to afford things that they need, such as food and clothing for themselves and their family, and this will therefore create an issue of problem gambling.


He’s not wrong, we have to give him that, and once more the few seem to be damaging it for the many, with problem gamblers drawing attention to the issues that pokies cause, and potentially leading us all down a road that will see pokies banned from pubs, hotels, restaurants and maybe even from casinos. We feel for problem gamblers as much as others do, but we also feel for those who gamble for fun and without taking it too far, and it seems unfair that they are the ones that will suffer, especially when they are in the majority.


Pokie Fraud


Also in February we learned of four men who were charged with pokie fraud, the biggest case of fraud that this industry has ever seen. They had swindled millions of dollars from the machines and in February they faced the courts with charges of deception. Two of the men, Michael Joseph O’Brien and Patrick Francis O’Brien, 55 and 80 respectively, were a father and son combination that lived in Blenheim, whilst a 58 year old man by the name of Paul Anthony Max was also charged, along with a fourth, unnamed individual.


The crimes occurred across New Zealand and reports suggest that the men pocketed a total of around $30 million, all of which was fleeced from pokies found in pubs and clubs. The men are due to appear in court again very soon and could face 7 years a piece in jail.


New Pokies Releases


Some of the newest pokies to hit the online casinos have included Wooden Boy, which was created by RealTime Gaming and is based on a fairy tale theme, and The Candy Cottage, which was developed by Rival and comes with a multitude of features, including a scatter, a wild symbol, a free spin bonus and more. Tennis fans were also given a new pokie to checkout, titled The Centre Court, which comes with its own jackpot of several thousand dollars.