What Was the First Poker Machine in Australia?

Clubman poker
What was the first Poker Machine in Australia?

You may have read the question “What was the initial machine in Australia?” and thought yourself about how to answer this question. Well, we never shy away from any question and today is no different. So let’s delve into the first poker machine in Australia and see if we can find the answer.

So because this isn’t an easy question to answer we must tell you that the answer is a twofold affair. The first part of the answer takes us way back to the early 1900’s whilst the second part takes us to the 1950s.

The Origins of Poker Machines

What are your Chances Winning on Pokies-What was the first poker machine in Australia?
What are your Chances Winning on Pokies

The initial machine was developed in America in the late nineteenth century; so you may ask when the great play of poker machines moved to Australia. Well, popular belief is that poker machines came across from America; or the old continent of Europe (via Britain) in the early 1900’s. These machines were illegal as gambling had not been legalised at this point. No one knows what these poker machines were or where they resided.

First Poker Machine in Australia

The Arrival of Legal Poker Machines

The initial machine in Australia was called the Clubman and was created by none other than Aristocrat. Legalised use of poker machines came about in 1956 in New South Wales. The Clubman was a three-reel one-armed bandit; and was the only Aristocrat poker machine for around two years before it was replaced by the newer Clubmaster in 1955.

The initial machine was found in Australia in 1956. The reason why it took so long to get to Australia; was simply due to laws prohibiting poker machines in the country.

The Expansion of Pokies

Many territories followed over the next few decades until most territories allowed poker machines, something that many enjoy today. It’s estimated that in Australia, over 40% of adults play pokies at least once a year, demonstrating the enormous popularity of these machines.

Aristocrat – The Leading Name in Pokies

Aristocrat is one of today’s biggest poker machine developers and is the biggest in Australia, so it’s fitting they officially had the initial machine in Australia. They’re responsible for some of the most popular pokie machines in the country, and their creations can be found in virtually every casino, club, and pub across the nation.

The Impact of Pokies on Australian Society

Despite controversies around gambling, poker machines have had a significant impact on Australian society. They’ve contributed to the economy, provided employment, and have become a part of Australian culture. In 2021, they contributed to over AUD 7 billion in taxes and levies to state and territory governments.

However, it’s important to note that while many Australians enjoy playing pokies any time of the day or night, and problem gambling is a serious issue. Organisations like Gambling Help Online provide support to individuals struggling with gambling addiction.

So there you have it. The journey of poker machines in Australia started in the early 1900s with mysterious and illegal machines, moved on to the Clubman in 1956, and continued to the thriving industry we see today. From their controversial beginnings to their current status as a cornerstone of Australian leisure activity, the history of pokies is indeed a fascinating story.

About the author

Guy Marlow