How to prevent it before it hits: hooked on pokie machines

By Mike Fatouros | Updated: February 27th, 2023

Times are different. Society is continually changing, and everyone is adapting to the new trends and people’s needs. Food, music, clubs, even how you live day-to-day is not the same as ten years ago, is it? And well, gambling is no exception. Even though we might not think so, there are a lot of new forms of gambling that now seems, was here from the beginning of time.

Pokies banners, roulette advertisements, themed games: these are the new reality. The reality that, indeed, excites many people in Australia.

Pokies – one of the most popular online gambling options

Pokies, or as Americans call it, slot machines were developed by Sittman and Pitt, in Brooklyn, New York. It was an ancestor to the current slot machine. It included five drums containing 50 card faces in total. These machines became pretty successful (obviously, we have them for quite some years now). Every bar in the city suddenly found themselves owning at least one of those.  

Of course, the evolution of video pokies machines went fast. Now, each of them has an inbuilt computer program that randomly generates thousands and thousands of possible outcomes. Only then it picks a random result from many (we’re talking thousands here) possibilities. 

Needless to say, it becomes addictive. People start to think about the infinite opportunities of success, imagine the best to come. Even the tiniest bit of success may seem like it’s a straight path to winning it all. 

And of course, it’s hard to stop yourself from trying one more time, and then one more… and the last one. Merely the ones who are willing to take risks get the champagne, right? Well… In this case, it is more an exception than the rule. 

Silver lining between addiction and enjoyment 

We’ve all had an addiction of some level. It’s a part of being human. However, some become so powerful, it consumes our free time and keeps us from living our life. Gambling, therefore, is known to be one of the strongest addictions. And one distinct type in particular: pokies. 

In 2008 Gambling Solutions conducted a study of 200, which included young people aged from 13-24. The result showed that 96% of people from 18-24 had gambled for money or possessions at some point of their lives. For example, in 2000, the Productivity Commission reported that Australian pokies lead to gamblers losing $720 per hour on average. 

Their most recent draft report in 2009 gives even more robust numbers. According to the study and data of the latest machines, Aussies can spend up to $1200 per hour. The inevitable march of pokies into the rural scene from the early 1990s also works to encourage critics’ opinions about the machines’ predatory qualities. 

In this post, I’d like to discuss the ethical, appropriate and not overly consuming way to enjoy gambling and pokie machines. After all, everything needs to be taken with a little bit of salt. It doesn’t mean we have to turn our backs to every activity. Yet, the lack of discipline and knowledge is what makes it dangerous, not the activity itself. 

Limits and alerts equals self-control.

Pokies are meant to be fun. However, there are critical mistakes people do that lead to way more trouble than fun. For example, chasing your losses to break even. The thing is, this could lead to an even more significant financial damage. So, play within your limits, or even better, set a limit of how much you can afford to bet and lose.

Even if you scored some great wins, set a goal and stick to it. It means calling it a day once you reach it, no exceptions. 

It is important to note, that once you realize that you are not enjoying your gaming session anymore, you need to stop. Immediately. 

Remember, all regulated online casinos will have ethical gambling rules established, so you can set limits and control yourself.

Lack of excitement in life

I mean, the headline says it all. It’s no surprise the person might be more fragile to external stimuli (in this case, gambling) if he’s not experiencing excitement and joy in his own life. 

Playing pokies indeed creates excitement, provides an adrenaline rush, makes you feel special. invincible. So, naturally, if you do not have other sources to get all these emotions from, gambling might become the main one. 

Do you work long office hours with no movement? Or perhaps, you feel like the most exciting thing that happens during a day is if someone puts salt instead of sugar in their coffee? In that case, a set of after-work pokies game might indeed sound tempting. But if you feel like you are only going to a Casino because that’s the highlight of your day, then… don’ t. 

You know how they say, balance is the key. Even if it sounds vain, it couldn’t be more true. It’s essential to find it before you discover yourself trapped in the dark cage of addiction. So, get out there! Find a hobby you truly enjoy, enjoy time with friends and family, catch the wave in the morning. Only then you can hit the local casino with the confidence, because that’s not going to be your main source of happiness and excitement. 

Understanding the science behind the machine

Our brains need data to accept information. So, when it comes to pokies machines, we also need precise information about them in order to keep ourselves sane. 

Even though we may assume we understand how these machines work, it may only be so because we play them often or because ‘people have told us how they work’. However, an accurate understanding of the poker machines must include a perception of probability, chance, and randomness. It is a must that you are aware of the random number generator within the machine. Those can be complicated concepts to comprehend.

This understanding is vital, though. Playing pokies involves a tremendous financial danger. Imagine, you wouldn’t buy a car without researching the model, the dealer, the testimonials? The lack of knowledge might result in a poor choice, debt, and way too much fuss to fix. 

It’s the same with gambling. It’s a risk. A risk you can minimize if you stick to your own rules, stay disciplined and keep yourself present. You know, don’t get into the fantasy that one more time and you’re a multi-billionaire. 

Stress and lack of discipline

The last, but not least is the aspect of stress. More importantly, its quantity in your everyday life. It is crucial to have this one sorted out when entering (or even if you’re already in) the gambling and the pokie gaming scene.

Stress holds a significant part in when it comes to addictions. People under stress have a more difficult time managing their urges, that’s a fact. The need to get awarded shifts and becomes stronger. Their resistance becomes less sharp. So when playing pokies, stress is the one that draws a person from making rational decisions: when to stop, how much to risk, and even when you’re deciding your financial limits and abilities.

Final thoughts

There are many ways a particular activity may become addictive and harmful to oneself. Yet, it only depends on a person and their mental investment on how it does or does not happen. 

Gambling is known to be a harmful addiction, and most of the time seen negatively. It can be an enjoyable activity, therefore, to be one, it is extremely crucial to establish personal rules and limits. If you decide to enter any form of gambling, whether it is playing pokies, Casino, roulette and so on. 

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