Pokies are ‘addictive by design’. That means they have been deliberately designed to keep players using the machines for as long as possible.
Pokies are a continuous form of gambling which means that any winnings can immediately be “reinvested.” In other words, you put the money in, push a button and you get a result within seconds. In contrast, Lotto is a non-continuous form of gambling; you purchase your Lotto ticket and wait up to a week for the result.
Gambling on pokies is a very solitary activity unlike games played with other people. The environment also encourages uninterrupted
and solitary play with pokie rooms in bars often having dimmed lighting, no tables to socialise around and an entranceway that minimises scrutiny. It’s just the player and the machine.
This happens when the amount of money you get back as a win on a multi-line bet, is actually less than what you put in, yet the machine’s bells and whistles go off making you think you’ve won!
Pokie machines give you the impression that you’ve nearly won so that you will keep on playing on the machine, when in fact, you haven’t.
These just make you feel you’re doing better than you really are by making it look like you’re getting close to a win.
As at 31 December 2021, we have 14,743 pokie machines in 1,050 pubs, clubs and TABs around New Zealand. We also have 3,056 pokie machines in our six casinos.
In 2021, New Zealanders lost $987 million on pokie machines outside of casinos.
Some of the money that is lost on pokie machines gets used to fund community and sports groups in the form of grants from pokie trusts or societies. But it is a complex “money-go-round” that relies on some of the poorest people in New Zealand putting money into these machines. To understand where the money goes, read our fact sheet hereFact sheet attached.
Read the white paper Ending community sector dependence on funding from pokie machines authored by The Salvation Army Oasis, Hapai Te Hauora Tapui, and PGF Group.
Pokies are one of a variety of machines where money is paid for a potential (but statistically unlikely) greater return. Traditional pokies used mechanical reels, but modern machines use computers and video screens to simulate the experience. Random number generators determine whether a “spin” results in success or failure.
Believe it or not, when you look inside a pokie machine, there’s really not that much there. The inside of a machine is very basic and the flashing lights and imagery are on the outside, just like a TV screen. If you want to understand exactly how a pokie machine works there are a couple of good videos on YouTube here and here. You can also test whether you can beat or cheat a pokie machine.