New South Wales government data shows that at the height of the pandemic in 2020, operators of pokie machines across the state saw up to 7% increase in profits. Actually, NSW clubs consider the 7% increase as a mere bounce back after nonessential businesses had been ordered to shutdown between March 23 to June 01, 2020. Upon reopening of clubs across the state, NSW punters had put in as much as $2.17 billion in pokies or slot machines, between June and November 2020.
While the NSW government’s analysis indicated that the 7% increase was the biggest year-on-year growth in a span of four years, Clubs NSW said the growth was not as impactful as the lift experienced by other industries. A spokesperson for the body that represents all NSW club operators said that it was a modest increase . That it was not at all unexpected since they had to shutdown for about 3 months.
Still, Club NSW still deems the 7% increase in club gaming profits as one that fell short when compared to the overall growth achieved in retail sales in New South Wales. Mainly because not every punter went to clubs and gaming rooms after the lockdown period. During the lockdown period and thereafter, Australians did not have to look further since they can access online pokies and casino games from the comfort of their own homes.
Increase in Gambling Activities After a Calamity is Normal
Derek Tuffield, the CEO of Lifeline Darling Downs and Southwest Queensland said it was normal to see an increase in gambling activities after the occurrence of a natural disaster or clamity. The COVID-19 pandemic was a similar situation in which people were under a great deal of stress. On top of that they have been receiving extra cash as stimulus relief, which many used to seek relaxation in venues, like clubs.
Moreover, Mr. Tuffield added that the availability of pokies naturally tapped on their inner hopes of being lucky enough to win additional money that can solve their financial problems.
How the Interactive Gambling Act of 2001 Applies in Australia
While it is not legal to operate interactive gambling sites in Australia, the Interactive Gambling Act of 2001 (IGA) does not infringe on the rights of Australians to access online pokies and other casino games.
The IGA 2001 specifically prohibits igaming companies to provide unlicensed regulated gambling games like pokies, blackjack, roulette, poker, craps and other games of chance to Australians. The prohibition applies regardless of where the unlicensed provider is located, whether in Australia or offshore-based.
While many offshore located online casinos are licensed by well-reputed gambling regulators of other countries, the IGA 2001 requires an online gambling provider to be licensed and registered in Australian jurisdictions.
In order to broaden Australians’ choices of online casino sites, The Slot Buddy has compiled a list of Internet-based, real money gaming sites, from where they can also access more than 2,000 pokies and other casino table games enjoyed by gamblers worldwide. Gamblers who prefer to use cryptocurrency when gambling can also find online casinos that accept Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin or other digital money.