Pokies machines are gambling machines found at land casinos, pubs, clubs and at online casinos. In New Zealand more than NZ$200 million is returned annually to the community from the proceeds of pokies machines, in pubs and hotels. Traditionally Pokie machines are also called gaming machines, poker machines, and/or one-armed bandits. The Department of Internal Affairs is responsible for regulating the gambling sector in New Zealand.
The pokies machines hosted in pub, hotels and clubs come under class four gambling in NZ. The class four gambling is operated on a not-for-profit basis, with the overwhelming objective of generating revenue to return to communities via contestable grant processes. A proportion of the money punters lose on pokie machines in pubs and bars is distributed to community groups by the corporate societies.
There are four classes of gambling in NZ along with casino gambling, sport and race betting, private gambling and Lotto which are authorised types of gambling under the Gambling Act 2003.
In New Zealand there is one pokie machine for every 211 people and on average each machine will take $125 out of its players pockets every day of the year.
So this shows playing pokies excessively can make you lose more and win less and still if you wish to play pokies it’s better to understand and know how does pokies work in NZ.
Understand the mechanism of a pokie or gaming machine
Earlier pokie machine were lot of mechanical means you had to operate manually. The old mechanical pokies used springs and tension to determine where the reels would stop. The new electronic machines use a much more sophisticated electronic method to determine the outcome of your spin.
The heart of the slot machine is the Random Number Generator (RNG). The RNG starts working as soon as the pokie machine is turned on, and spits out random numbers, usually between 0 and several million, at a rate of 300-500 per second. The RNG never stops working, and is not influenced by any outside factors, so the numbers are always totally random.
Modern pokies machines at casinos and online both work in the same way. When you place your bet and press the “Spin” button, the slot machine takes the next few values from the RNG and processes them through a complex computer program to determine the values that the reels should have.
Even though this computation does take only a short time, the games are not pre-programmed to pay out at any set time. This means that every spin has the same chance of winning nothing as it does of winning the jackpot.
Suppose you play on a standard 5-line pokies machine. When you press the “Spin” button, the pokies machine will grab the next 5 numbers from the RNG and store these in it’s memory. The pokies machine uses the first number to determine the position of the first reel, the second number determines the position of the second reel, and so on.
To work out the position, the computer divides the random number by a set value. This is usually a standard computer value of 16, 32, 64, etc. This works because of the way that computers mainly work in powers of 2, and this makes it easier for the computer to work out a value. As an example of how this works, say our random value is 3,486,421 and the computer divides by 128. When you divide the random number by 128, you have a remainder of 81. The machine has set values of where to stop the reel for every value from 0 to 127, because these are the numbers that will be left over after dividing the random number by 128. This tells the machine to stop the reel at that position.
As there are is usually always more numbers to decide from then positions on the reels, each position on the reel has more than one number assigned to it. This means that the machines can be changed by changing the numbers that are assigned to each position on the reel. This is the only way that operators can control the way that the machines work.
The Payout in the pokies machine
Pokies machines are programmed to deliver a precise return percentage, somewhere around 95 per cent which means 95 per cent of the money that goes into a pokies machine is paid back out to the players and the casino keeps the rest.
But note that the return percentage is not the same as the payback, which is the actual amount of money you win or lose during each gambling session at a pokie machine. If you sat down at a pokie machine for eternity and pulled the lever an infinite amount of times, your payback percentage would be exactly 95 per cent. Likewise, in a casino full of punters, the collective machines will pay back roughly 95 per cent of the total money gambled during the course of a day.
Unfortunately, you are only one person and you don’t have infinite pulls. So your odds of winning are equally good or bad every pull. You could lose all day and that doesn’t mean the machine is rigged. Also it doesn’t mean that the guy who wins the jackpot found the ‘loose’ machine. He just got lucky by chance.
Pokies machines take more money than paying back
Every machine will always take in more money than it pays out. Many players wrongly think if they sit at the same machine or if they haven’t won for a while that they are due for a win or that machine is due to pay out. Jackpot rates are based upon hundreds of thousands or even millions of spins, so they don’t reflect what will happen on a particular day in a particular venue. Every spin is random. The machine doesn’t take into account how long you’ve been sitting there or how much money you’ve put in. On top of this, machines give the impression that you have almost won – so you keep playing. A loss is a loss and the symbols displayed above or below the payline have nothing to do with how close you were to winning the jackpot.
Free spins are another feature of machines to keep you interested by making you think you’re getting close to a bigger win. They give you the feeling that you are doing better than you really are. Small wins like free spins are designed to keep you playing for longer with the aim of returning the most money to the casino.
Pokies machines also will give you false winning indication. The machine will have lights and sounds that make it seem like you’ve won, when actually you’ve still lost money. Machines will also celebrate any win regardless of the total amount you’ve gambled over the session. More often than not, the total amount spent will be more than you win, so on the whole, you lose.
Finally after knowing how the pokies work in NZ it’s your choice to pump money into these machines or not. Note that no matter what you do to a pokie machine, you cannot change what it is programmed to do as it is a computer designed electronic device to take in more money than it pays out and there is no skill to win them.