Online Pokies News: May 2012

Casinos, even online casinos, certainly aim to create the atmosphere of being a world unto themselves … a parallel universe where everything is possible and all that money could be yours! However, both physical and online casinos exist in the real world, and legislative changes and social movements both affect what happens in the glitzy, multi-coloured, flashing world of the casino. Today we hit the newsstands and discover what’s been happening in the world of gambling, both in online casinos and offline, in the past month!

Online Pokies and Online Casinos Expected to Boom After Pokies Ban

Popular social commentary site ‘Crikey’ has predicted a boom in online pokies use and other online casino gambling, somewhat related to the proposed pokies reforms currently being negotiated by Independent MP Andrew Wilkie and the government. They’ve repeated Dr Sally Gainsbury’s research stating that internet gambling has accelerated in the past two years. The article attacks online gambling, however reveals some ignorance in tis conclusion ehen stating that the current sports clubs hosting pokies will lose their prey “to rather more shady characters in Nigeria and Russia”. They are obviously unaware how well-regulated online casinos are, and how few scam casinos are actually set up in the industry.

Slotomania App Under Fire for Aiming at Children

The Slotomania app available on the Apple store and as a Facebook app simulates pokies play, but the worst kind … where you can buy credits for the game with real money, but you will never, ever, win any money! Clubs Australia have been calling for the federal government to ban the app. However, we think it is actually a deterrent to gambling for children – if they learn that you put a lot of money into gambling and never win, they’ll hardly get hooked.

In the meantime, is Slotomania a good way to ‘practise’ for actual online pokies play? Not really. The only way to gain a slight tipping of the house edge on online pokies into your favour is to know your game well. The free version of the slot machine at your online casino of choice is probably better practice.

Queenslanders Lose Record Amounts on Pokies in Disaster Wake

The Queensland Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation reports that Queenslanders lost a record $1.91 billion dollars on the pokies last year, in the wake of several of the state’s worst natural disasters. Gambling researcher Paul Delfabbro said of the boom that “A period of boom, or obsession with consumption, often follows a time of crisis”. This is natural and understandable – but we would advise that you strictly control your online pokies spend if you’re using it as stress relief.

South Sydney Clubs Kids Bingo Under Fire

Kids bongo games offering prizes up to $360 for children as young as five to play kids bingo while the parents have a meal in peace are under fire for the practice. Clubs say it is teaching kids numeracy skills, Senator Nick Xenophon says “It’s a case of the bingo having my baby”.

Here we see the key difference between children’s bingo games and gambling as accessibility. If kids can choose to immediately play another game when they lose at bingo, it could teach poor gambling habits. Otherwise, it is no different from other competitions which award prizes such as children’s shows that send out prize packs for drawings.

Canberra’s Casino Slashes Hours After Pokies Banned

Casino Canberra has cut its opening hours to improve profitability after its right to operate pokies was removed. No doubt the availability and advantages of online casinos are also having an impact on the profitability of table games at the casino.

Zynga Could Enter Online Gambling Market

Zynga is one of the biggest game operators on Facebook, and may now be going online with its popular Zynga Poker game. This could disrupt the current online casino landscape, introducing popular new players with the advantage of games that people are already familiar with.

Just About Every Online Casino Now to Accept US Players

Late last year, US regulators decided that the Wire Act (which was previously thought to prohibit gambling at online casinos) actually only applies to sports betting. Previously, states had not legalised online casino gambling because it was thought that this would be overturned at a federal level. This memo from the US Justice Department effectively means that all online casinos will now accept US players. What does it mean for online casino players in other countries? Probably that the environment will now be better regulated, more accountable, and with the influx of new players, payouts for games may even go up as the casino doesn’t need to maintain such a high house edge to be profitable.

Internet Gambling Offers “Unique Risks”

Dr Sally Gainsbury, researcher in the Southern Cross University’s Centre for Gambling Education and Research, says that online gambling offers unique risks for problem gamblers. These include:

  • The privacy of online casino gaming
  • Its constant availability
  • The ease of connection –no need for transport or to find childminding

Dr Gainsbury has recommended popup messages telling players how long they have been on for and helping them keep track of how much they’ve been spending – common sense initiatives which even the online casino industry would support!

SOPA to Affect Online Gambling?

Some believe that online gambling might be affected by the Stop Online Piracy Act which is making its way through Congress in the US at the moment. The act can be used to restrict access to overseas websites that traffic in stolen intellectual property – however, restricting access to online gambling may not be that far away. Of course, our government would use an Australian legislative vehicle to restrict access to internet sites, and these are aimed more at sexual content than piracy.

Xenophon Calls for Updated Gambling Act

And on that note, Senator Nick Xenophon has called for a re-think of the Interactive Gambling Act. The original law is 10 years old, and hasn’t accounted for the myriad of technological changes in that time. The Senator is calling for a centralisation of the online pokies and online casino laws, removing the current quirks in Queensland and the Northern Territory.

Poker Site Ultimate Bet Faces Legal Challenge

The online casino site Ultimate Bet is accused of allowing cheating players to manipulate the online casino software to allow them to see other players’ hole cards.