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History of Australian Pokies


In 1895 Charles Fey invented the first pokie machine in the United States of America. It was called the Liberty Bell. It took less than ten years for pokie machines to reach Australia. At that time casino type gambling was illegal in Australia, but nevertheless the pokie machines became popular in the underground gambling dens.


Electromechanical Pokie Machines


In 1953 an Australian company called Aristocrat developed the first indigenous pokie machine. It was designed by Joe Heywood and was given the name the Clubman. In 1955 the Clubman was replaced with an upgraded version called the Clubmaster. The Australian pokie industry took off in 1956 when the government of New South Wales legalised gaming machines in registered clubs. In 1973 casinos were legalised in Tasmania. The first legal pokies were simple affairs without any frills. Later lights were added to the pokie machines. These pokies were electromechanical devices that had three spinning reels. There were one, three or five paylines. All you had to do was pull the handle to start the reels spinning. Then you had to wait for the reels to stop and could collect your coins if you won. The payouts were also considerably small compared to present standards.


Video Pokie Machines


The next big development in pokies was the introduction of video pokies in the mid-1980s. These replaced the mechanical movements with computer software simulated action on the screen. Because of this the number of reels could be increased to five and the number of paylines could be increased considerably. Bonus features like free spins and gamble option were introduced. Video pokies had considerably greater paying opportunities. Variety was also introduced in the graphics and symbols. Queensland in 1992, South Australia in 1994 and NSW in 1997 legalised the use of video pokies in pubs. This brought in an even larger clientele to pokie gambling.


Online Pokie Machines


The next big fillip came in 1994, about 100 years after Fey’s invention. The first online casinos went live. Among the first ones to offer services to Australian players was The Gaming Club, which is still in operation today. You could play online pokies sitting at home, with the software located at a remote server. Any number of players could access and play on the same online pokie at the same time. Online pokies developed at a much faster rate. Progressive jackpot pokies could cater to a much larger player base and the increased liquidity gave rise to some high payout jackpots, in excess of a million dollars. Different online pokies were linked to the same progressive network. Microgaming, a popular software provider to Australian online casinos, introduced branded pokies with Tomb Raider. Today both Microgaming and Playtech online casinos offer a number of branded pokies in their portfolio.


Mobile Pokie Machines


The latest development in the history of pokies is mobile pokies. Starting about a decade ago you could play pokies on your mobile phones and tablets. With the development in mobile hardware and software technology and the proliferation of smartphones in Australia, the quality and number of mobile pokies has shown improvement. You get general HTML5 mobile pokies as well as apps for different operating systems like iOS, Android, Windows and Blackberry.