Australian Poker Machines – Is There a Solution to the Problem of corruption?
The Australian poker machine industry is one of the most powerful and profitable in the world. With more than half a billion dollars in annual revenue, it is not hard to see why. But with that success has come controversy, especially in the form of increased online poker fraud. Many in the general public are of the opinion that the increase in online poker fraud is hurting the credibility of the poker room, and its opulent lifestyle.
As Australia gears up for national elections in 2021, this may turn out to be an issue in the lead up to the polls. Already the issue of gambling addiction in the country has become a cause coterie for right wing politicians and anti-coalition candidates. This all seems to backfire on the government in its attempts at getting back Labor’s vote. In the meantime, the government has put up billboards across the country extolling the virtues of responsible gambling. The Victorian government recently passed a bill making it illegal to run gambling devices while driving, which includes poker machines.
It is interesting that the Victorian government put these laws about online gambling in an effort to solve the growing problem gamblers have with online gambling rooms, and the increasing instances of people losing large sums of money to such gaming rooms. This is in addition to the problems inherent with people who have poor spending habits, or live in rural areas where access to a gaming room may be impossible. One thing that is consistent with all these examples is the desire of the Gaming Industry Association of Australia (GIA) to see legislation that will criminalize those who falsely represent themselves as members of gaming rooms when, in reality, they do not. These so called gaming rooms are often based offshore.
There are a number of factors that contribute to why there are so many people losing money at Australian poker machines. The biggest factor is the random number generators (RNG). The random number generators determines the outcome of each hand by running mathematical algorithms over millions of past hands. While this seems complicated, it is essentially the best way to ensure that there are no human intervention errors. So many people, particularly newcomers to the game, lose because they do not understand what RNG is or how it works.
The second factor that leads to people losing a lot of money at Australian poker machines is the fact that many of the machines in this part of the world are not actually running at all. Casino owners who have been in business for a long time, and who have built up large reputations as experts in the operation of the equipment that they are using, are reluctant to make changes to their machines because they have already made so much money. They also have loyal customers who will be very quick to let their local casino know if they are not satisfied with specific machines. Many times the problem is not that there are not enough machines, but that they are not running. The result is that people end up getting charged fees and even taxes for using a machine that is not actually functioning.
This is a very complicated issue in light of the fact that the government in Tasmania is trying to do something about it. There is a bill before the state parliament that would, if passed, require all operators of Australian pokies to have a proper license. This would essentially force all pokies to provide proof of having a good reputation in the pokie business. The hope is that this new legislation, combined with the RNG algorithm change, will prevent corruption and favoritism among operators of Australian poker rooms. If this passes, it is expected that all the Australian pokies in the state will become run in a much more transparent and fair manner.