Amidst strong criticism and scrutiny against slot machines in Australia, gaming manufacturers in the country revealed that every year, the pokies contribute AU$8.32 billion to the national economy. The data was made public during the Australasian Gaming Expo in Sydney last week and prompted berating from anti-gambling campaigners.
The interesting results come as part of a new survey conducted on behalf of the Gaming Technologies Association, an Australian industry group that represents leading gaming manufacturers such as IGT Australia, Aristocrat Technologies, Scientific Games, Tabcorp, and Konami Australia. According to the findings, the poker machine industry contributed AU$8.32 billion in annual added value to the Australian economy. Tax revenue generated from pokies, on the other hand, was around $5.5 billion at least during the 2016-2017 fiscal year when the survey was carried out.
These are some of the conclusions of the report yet to be released by the Centre for International Economics. The research group has compiled the data over the past financial year and has put it an analysis commissioned by the Gaming Technologies Association (GTA). The latest statistics were presented during a seminar by Ross Ferrar on the first day of the Australasian Gaming Expo. Ferrar addressed some of the concerns often expressed by anti-gambling campaigners by reminding that the taxes from gambling operations and the poker machines industry benefits all Australians. This money is used for funding schools, roads, hospitals and other public infrastructure, he asserted.
According to him, the massive contribution of the pokies industry to the national economy is undoubtedly very important but society should also recognize another essential fact, he said. We should remember that that poker machines provide “harmlessly” enjoyment and entertainment to millions of people in the country, he added. His comments sparked strong criticism by many vocal gambling opponents who responded immediately. Ferrar mistakenly denies the dramatic effects on individuals, their families and communities from problem gambling, anti-pokies campaigners have said.
Last year, government statistics revealed that more than half of the record $24 billion gambling loss in Australia was generated by poker machines. During the 2015-2016 fiscal year, people in the country lost the staggering $12 billion to pokies, proving themselves as the biggest gamblers in the world once again.
Myth: Australia Has the Most Slot Machines
Australia has the reputation for the country with the largest number of pokies or slot machines per capita. Looking at the most recent data, however, researchers explain this is a nothing but a myth whereas, in reality, things are very different. According to the World Count of Gaming Machines 2018, which was released last month, Australia has 2.53 per cent of all electronic gaming machines in the world. The annual survey looks at the global gaming machine industry, estimating the number of slots, pachinko and similar machines that have been legally installed in different countries.
The number of all legal gaming machines in the world, according to the survey, is 7,789,679. Australia comes fifth by a total number of machines with 197,021 pokies, or roughly 2.53 per cent of all gaming machines. Japan tops the ranking with around 4.52 million pachinko and pachislot machines, followed by the United States of America with 884,239, and Germany with 274,500. Spain is fourth on the list, having 201,381 gaming machines, or just a little more than Australia.
Another common misconception, that Australia has the most gaming machines per capita, is also completely debunked by the survey. The data shows clearly that places such as Sint Maarten in the Caribbean, Finland’s Aland Islands, Japan, Monaco and Macau have the the most slots in comparison with the local population. Australia comes in the tenth place with 125 people per gaming machine.