How common is gambling?

Did you know that you know that approximately 70% of Australians participate in some form of gambling each year?  Gambling can, in fact, take many forms. Playing the pokies, playing table games at the casino and betting on horses are all considered gambling. Even buying a lottery ticket or ‘scratchie’ is a form of gambling. … Continue reading How common is gambling?

What randomness really means in poker machines

You have all probably heard about poker machines operating randomly, though what exactly does that mean? In gambling, random means that we are unable to accurately control or predict the outcomes that will occur next. Randomness also means that each outcome is independent of one another. That is, the outcome of each spin on a … Continue reading What randomness really means in poker machines

Supporting others

If you have experienced problem gambling, or maybe still are, it is likely you have experienced a wide range of distressing consequences. This may include, to name a few: financial hardship, feelings of depression and anxiety, and relationship problems. Perhaps one (and likely the only) advantage of having suffered through this is that you are … Continue reading Supporting others

Why should I understand the poker machines?

An understanding of the ways in which the poker machines operate is an important part in treatment of problem gambling. We may assume we understand how these machines work because we play them often or because ‘people have told us how they work’. However, an accurate understanding of the poker machines must include an understanding … Continue reading Why should I understand the poker machines?

What is Return to Player?

If you are a regular pokies player, you’ve probably heard of something called the 'Return to Player Percentage'. It is something often talked about but not always well understood. It is important to clarify what Return to Player Percentage is, as misunderstandings can lead to problem gambling. By law, every poker machine in Australia must … Continue reading What is Return to Player?

That’s so random

Poker machines work randomly. Every win, every loss, every spin of the reel - completely random. We know this because it’s the law. It’s in the National Standards which are vigorously enforced by governments and independent testing agencies. It even says so in the Gaming Industry’s own Player Information Booklet. So why do so many … Continue reading That’s so random

Pokies can cause pain

Electronic gaming machines, or pokies, have been widely demonstrated to be a particularly risky form of gambling, with a higher proportion of pokie players going on to develop gambling problems than those on any other form. Do you play the pokies regularly? If so you may be at significant risk of developing a gambling problem. Do … Continue reading Pokies can cause pain


An understanding of the inner workings of the poker machines is reliant on an appreciation of randomness. ‘Randomness’ is a tricky concept, in that we often think we understand what this term means and may use it frequently without even realising that its true meaning evades us. As a test, if you were asked to … Continue reading Random?

The Marketing of the Machines

The construction and marketing of poker machines is a massive and constantly expanding industry. Success in this industry is based on the ability of game designers and marketing teams to create machines that give players an illusion of control. The illusion of control is the tendency for people to believe they can control or at … Continue reading The Marketing of the Machines

Shame and Gambling

People experience a complex range of emotions while gambling. Some emotions are undeniably positive such as excitement, surprise, and hopefulness – and individuals may gamble in the hope of experiencing such feelings. Unfortunately another emotion is also often experienced while gambling: shame. Shame has been defined as a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused … Continue reading Shame and Gambling