Australia has over 18% of the poker machines in the world1. The country also has the highest poker machine density, with one poker machine available for every 123 people while the world average is just one poker machine for 7,056 people1. Poker machines are designed in a way to make people addicted and also are known to cause massive social harm because of the addiction1.
Aristocrat Leisure is one of the largest gambling game makers in the world with its operations in over 80 countries2;p1. There are around 200,000 poker machines or pokies in Australia3. With over 50% market share, Aristocrat effectively owns around 100,000 of the pokies3.
Electronic slot machines or pokies cause almost 3 times earlier addiction than a table or race-track games4. An electronic gambler requires just around 1.08 years to get addicted, while it takes 3.58 years for gambling by other means4. Because of instant gratification and the fast pace at which these games progress, gamblers quickly get addicted to playing these pokies4. In 2019, nearly 8% of the Australian population, or 1.4 million people, had gambling problems1.
Gambling is an emotional problem that has a financial consequence and can lead to huge debts6. On average, Australians spend US$984 on gambling every year5. Australians collectively lose over US$23 billion on gambling every year, out of which US$14 billion is lost on poker machines1.
Aristocrat’s pokies alone cost Australian gamblers approximately $7 billion a year3. Gambling addictions also cause family violence, relationship breaks, homelessness, and psychological problems, leading to anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, and suicides1. Nearly 400 Australians commit suicide every year due to the issues arising from their gambling problems7.
Gambling is a rampant issue in Australia, and Aristocrat’s machines have cost Australians around $7 billion in losses. This has further added more to the addictions and hence, suicides.