Why Are Slots Called Pokies?

All details below were correct when published on 20th January 2019. 18+. UK Only. Wagering terms and conditions apply. Please gamble responsibly.

Slots & PokiesBefore online took off, we always referred to slots as fruit machines – or fruities. However, we recently came across an article referencing Eyecon games, such as Fluffy Favourites, as pokies. This term intrigued us and so we decided to find out what exactly are pokies?

Aussie Slang

According to Urban Dictionary, the top definition for pokies are nipples that are “prominently visible through clothing”. Now we’re pretty sure that this has nothing to do with slot machines, so we can disgard that one. Thankfully the second and third suggestions at Urban Dictionary shed more light. Pokies is Australian slang for poker machines or gambling slot machines.

Looking at other articles that discuss pokies there seems to be no real consensus as to the origin of the term. Perhaps the best suggestion comes from Casino.org who suggest that the term originates from the early poker machines. These adopted the term pokies and after that all other games, including slot machines, became known as pokies.

How Pokies Are Addictive

Whilst looking for information about pokies we stumbled across an interesting article from The Guardian. It’s an interactive piece that demonstrates just how pokies are designed to be addictive. Non-Aussie players just need to substitute the word pokies for slots!

According to the article slots “are designed in subtle ways that give the impression that even when you don’t win, you just narrowly missed out”. These near misses encourage you to keep hitting the “spin” button and subsequently spending your money. Additionally, with occasional wins you are encouraged to spend more time at the machine.

Could Understanding Pokies Help Gambling Addiction?

So, why should you read this kind of article? Slots can be a lot of fun, but we all know that they can also be addictive. A lot of time and effort is spent discouraging gambling under the premise that it’s bad. That approach is necessary, but very little time is actually spent educating players how the games they play actually work. We don’t just mean the rules of game play, but the psychology behind the flashing lights.

For example, psychology plays a big role in product placement in supermarkets. Product placement can appeal to our desires for a bargain, for a treat or just convenience. TV shows such as Eat Well for Less? and other media publications now make people aware of the psychology behind product placement. Once we know these tactics then it can discourage the temptation of buying food we don’t need to purchase.

So why do we not do the same for slots and pokies? We all know about the flashing lights but we often overlook why they are really there. If by understanding that those “near misses” to a big win are simply designed to keep us playing, or that the odds are against us – then wouldn’t that possibly discourage play?

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