How much of a difference can a name make? Is there any significant distinction between the terms “electronic gaming machines” and “fully automated table games?” Apparently, according to the Australian government, when it comes to Australian casinos – and therefore online casinos as well – there is a significant difference: illegal and legal.

How to Make Money at an Australian Casino

In 2009 an Australian casino was allowed to install 200 electronic terminals for table games like baccarat, which were previously illegal. By declaring that these were in actuality not “electronic games,” but “fully automated table games,” a surprising whiff of legality emanated from them. The law, as it currently exists, was meant to enforce that a live dealer stand at each table at casinos to spot problem gamblers and encourage them to stop playing. Obviously, no such oversight exists on a computer screen at an online casino. Also significant is that the government that approved the name change is the same government which stands to receive an extra $132 million in taxes for its efforts.

It’s Easy to Play Pokies at an Online Casino

The irony of all this is twofold. Firstly, the law itself is rather arbitrary. While electronic table games were prohibited, Australian casinos were allowed to operate pokies, which are also electronic and could be equally addictive to a problem gambler. Furthermore, any gambler could go home and access electronic table games and pokies by downloading an online casino, some of which are legal in the Land Down Under.

Pokie Machines Can Defend Themselves

Secondly, while human table game dealers were trained to spot problematic behaviour, human error is a likely common occurrence. Also, dealers were likely to give undue leeway to problematic clients since no one wants to upset a potentially unstable and addicted individual by cutting him off from the source of his addiction. This could be an uncomfortable situation for the dealer. However, a pokie machine does not make subconscious, subjective, human decisions. An intelligent algorithm on an electronic pokie game could immediately spot a problematic trend developing and alert casino security to the exact terminal without the gambler noticing. These algorithms are not some concept of science fiction. Many online casinos have employed these methods for years to identify problem gamblers and encourage them to seek assistance.

What Australian Casinos Could Have Done

If the petitioners on behalf of the casino had used these arguments, that unsupervised electronic gaming was already available and that enhanced measures could be added to further discourage gamblers from developing deep debt or addiction, the Australian government could have changed the law with moral superiority and the appearance of working for the public’s good. Instead they ignored all reason except the pot of gold in the form of increased tax revenue and decided only to juggle with loopholes and semantics.

Can Electronic Pokie Machines Be Lucky for You?
A Talmudic proverb suggests that one who has had misfortune should consider changing one’s name: “Changing names changes fortune.” Perhaps by changing the name of these “fully automated table games,” Australian casinos can bring better luck to their players.

By Rocky John
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