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slot machine (American), fruit machine (English),
or poker machine (Australian) is a type of casino
game. Traditional slot machines are coin-operated
machines with three or more reels, which spin
when a lever on the side of the machine is pulled.
The machines include a currency detector that
validates the coin or money inserted to play.
(The slot machine is also known informally as
a one-armed bandit because of its traditional
appearance and its ability to leave the gamer
penniless.) The machine pays off based on patterns
of symbols visible on the front of the machine
when it stops. Modern computer technology has
resulted in many variations on the slot machine
concept. Slot machines are the most popular gambling
method in casinos and constitute about 70 percent
of the average casino's income.
machines in Australia are generally referred to
as "video poker", "poker machines"
or "pokies", but are officially termed
Gaming Machines. Australian-style gaming machines
frequently use video displays to simulate physical
reels, usually five. These machines 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)
to be played.
laws regulating the use of gaming machines in
Australia are a matter for State governments,
and as such they vary between States.
machines in are found in casinos (approximately
one in each major city) as well as pubs and clubs
in some states (usually sports, social, or RSL
clubs). The first Australian state to legalize
this style of gambling was New South Wales in
1956 when they were made legal in all registered
clubs in the state. There are suggestions that
the proliferation of poker machines has led to
increased levels of "problem gambling";
however, the precise nature of this link is still
open to research.
1999 the Australian Productivity Commission reported
that Australia had nearly 180,000 poker machines,
more than half of which were in New South Wales.
This figure represented 21% of all the gambling
machines in the world, and on a per capita basis,
Australia had roughly five times as many gaming
machines as the United States. Revenue from gaming
machines in pubs and clubs accounts for more than
half of the $4 billion in gambling revenue collected
by state governments in 2002-2003.
Queensland, gaming machines in pubs and clubs
must provide a return rate of 85% while machines
located in casinos must provide a return rate
of 90%. Most other states have similar provisions.