Why are pokies so addictive: Australia’s pokie love and problem
Oliver Moore / 19 November 2021

Why are pokies so addictive: how pokies machines in casinos attract Aussies

When it comes to pokies, it’s fair to state that this type of gaming is a favourite among Aussies. Australia is a number one country in both gambling on slots and losing. This country allows high-intensity pokie machines inside pubs and clubs, making them incredibly available. In recent years, online gambling has also gained popularity.

There are plenty of reasons why Aussies love playing pokies. For many people, it remains just a part of relaxing leisure. However, for many others, it becomes a terrifying problem. In order to get their lives straight, they need to cope with it.

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Reasons why Aussies love playing pokies

Pokies are everywhere in this country. The only region that allows gaming machines only in casinos in Western Australia. In all others, you can find them in clubs and pubs. The Green Continent also doesn’t prohibit online casinos, so Aussies can reach their favourite slots even from home.

Playing on pokies brings a lot of pleasure to gamers. Developers create machines in a way that stimulates a great dopamine rush. There are several reasons why Aussies love playing pokies:

  1. it is a good method to relax after a long day; if you got tired after work, bright graphics, interesting themes, and fun gameplay could help you to rest;
  2. it helps to relieve stress; playing pokies can stimulate your brain to produce dopamine that reduces the feeling of stress and pressure;
  3. it is a fun pastime with friends; together, you can easily come to a pub after work and have fun with drinks and pokies;
  4. it gives you a feeling of victory and success;
  5. gamers like to receive bonuses and gifts, especially online; online casinos encourage their users to visit websites regularly by offering daily rewards, match bonuses, cashback, and seasonal promotions;
  6. it is a part of Australian culture; when your environment contributes to gambling and offers plenty of opportunities, you are likely to join the game;
  7. it is a strong material motivation; casinos and online operators offer various rewards and gifts for participating and winning in different tournaments and contests.

The gamer can have several reasons why gambling on pokies becomes his favourite pastime. The problem appears when those reasons create addiction.

australia pokie love

Are pokies addictive

It is quite reasonable why people can choose to play pokies from time to time. However, this Aussies’ love for slots often turns into a gambling addiction, and there are too many such cases. This phenomenon has become such a big problem that many scientists now are studying pokies and explaining to us why they are so addictive:

  • answering why are pokies so addictive starts with showing how they mislead you; for instance, you bet four credits on four lines but win only one credit on one line – thus, you won back less money than you bet in total; experts call it “losses disguised as wins” – when in reality you lost money, you get the feeling of reward and success from flashing lights, upbeat music and encouraging messages that pokies use;
  • the designers of pokies try to maximize the chance of the situation when you lose but get the feeling that you almost won and maybe the next spin will be the one; experts call it “near-miss”; developers achieve it by choosing the location of symbols on reels relative to one another or making one reel longer than another – when you lose, you see the high-value symbols above and below the winning line making you feel “so close” and encouraging you to keep playing;
  • pokies also allow you to win back some of your money more frequently; such repetitive wins prolong the amount of time that you spend on the machine; moreover, increased speed of the gameplay lets you place a bet every few seconds, spending much larger sums;
  • pokie’s outcomes are totally unpredictable that makes you want to solve this kind of puzzle; you continue playing in order to crack the pattern to a sequence of symbols and discover how a piece of machinery operates; you hope to eventually solve the puzzle, and this anticipation brings you a lot of pleasure.

Gaming developers create their machines addictive. Their interest is earning money, and the longer you play and the bigger sums you lose, the more they earn.

How keep your gaming safe

One of the main obstacles here is unawareness. Most people don’t understand how addictive these machines can be. Gambling addiction is a type of addiction that you can hardly see. Still, Australian government statistic states that one in six people who play on pokies regularly has a serious problem.

A simple definition of the problem is that gambling causes harm to the individual or those around them. This harm can include fraud, financial crisis, dismissal, separation, divorce, violence, neglect of children, and so on. And the first step to learning how to quit pokies for good is to get rid of a causal relationship between such harm and gambling.

The first signs of the problem include:

  • thinking and talking about gambling all the time
  • spending lots of time
  • lying about your actions and finances
  • having debts, not having savings
  • feeling sick and embarrassed after gambling
  • choosing pokies over family and friends

You can even pass an online test whether your gambling has become harmful. Since addiction is a psychological disorder, if you establish a problem, the best way is to get help. There are plenty of support groups and agencies providing help in Australia. It is important to realize that you’re not alone with it, and many other people have already been cured.

When you want to quit gambling yourself, you need to manage with the appearing urge. When you feel the need for gambling, try to set your mind and distract yourself with another activity until the urge passes.

There are also several tips on how to keep your gambling safer:

  • use different pre-commitment tools to set a limit for how much time and money you want to spend – stop when you reach the limits;
  • block or limit your access to online casinos with a blocker app or ask a casino to restrict your access;
  • never play on pokies if you feel sad or stressed;
  • never consume alcohol or other substances during the game;
  • limit your payment transactions with your bank and don’t take your cards when you gamble outside;
  • don’t consider gambling as a way of earning;
  • gamble only with money you own and can afford to lose; never take debts and don’t try to win back what you’ve lost.

Such steps can prevent you from serious problems.


Understanding why pokies are so addictive is crucial in order not to get hooked or to cope with the problem. Addiction affects people’s lives severely. Individuals with gambling disorders tend to chase loss and make riskier decisions in general that ruin their lives.

Developers create pokies in order to earn money, and they need you to play as long as possible. Pokies give you a constant feeling that you nearly won and that you win when you actually lose. Such tricks get you on a hook since they stimulate human brains to produce dopamine.

If you or anyone you know struggles with this problem, it is crucial to learn how to quit pokies for good and get help. You can also organize safer gambling conditions by setting limits and rules.

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