Local Government Wants to Ban Immersive Pokies

Across Australia, different state governments are working hard to reduce the potential harm that poker machines can cause. Although pokies are not inherently harmful, some features can make it difficult for players to know when to stop spending money. In the ACT, local politicians want to put an end to these features, targeting new ‘immersive’ sound systems.

A recent trend in poker machine design is ‘full immersion’. Pokies developers create this experience by building speakers into the chairs that are attached to the games. With music blasting in the players’ ears, it is easy to become so engrossed in the game that you lose track of how much money you have spent.

In both Victoria and New South Wales, similar bans were passed. Politicians decided to ban the use of headphones with poker machines so that players would be able to easily take a step back and keep track of how much money they have spent. In Victoria, the ban resulted in a significant decline in poker machine spending. Local lawmakers were pleased with the results, as they were glad to be profiting less from problem gamblers.

A similar result could be seen if the ACT decides to impose a ban on poker machines. While it would mean that gaming clubs would earn less revenue, it would also mean that they would benefit less from compulsive gambling spending, contributing to a healthier gambling environment.