The operation of different types of gambling

Below you will find answers to frequently asked questions that relate to how different types of gambling actually work. In particular, information has been provided on the operation of pokies machines and sports betting.

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Q: How do pokies work?

Electronic gaming machines, also known as pokies or EGMs, are controlled by a computer program that generates thousands of random combinations every second.

How machines operate:

  • Insert cash or credit into the machine.
  • Press the button
  • The machine will randomly determine the position of symbols on the game and generate one outcome.
  • If the machine determines a win, credits are paid.
  • If not, the machine continues to generate a new random outcome each time the button is pressed again. This means each outcome has no relation to the outcomes before or after it

Q: What are some common myths about pokies?

  • Myth = If you play long enough you will eventually win.
    Reality = Pokies are random so the odds of you winning don't change. Each spin is a separate game, so winning one game won't mean you're more likely to win on the next.
  • Myth = Your machine is lucky.
    Reality = Pokies are computerized, but they do not track who has been using one machine vs another.
  • Myth = Pokies are there for you to win.
    Reality = Pokies are designed to take your money more often than they let you win.

Q: How does sports betting work?

Sports betting in Australia is an expansion of bookmaking which was traditionally wagering on horse or greyhound racing. It includes a diverse range of activities including everyday sports such as football and cricket, but also other events such as financial results, outcomes of elections or even results of reality TV contests. Corporate bookmakers can offer opportunities to bet on the outcomes of Victorian, interstate and overseas events.

There are many ways to place a sports bet. It can be done using the internet, a telephone, mobile phone, smart phone apps, using interactive television, or in person at TABs or on racecourses via bookies.

Sports bets are usually set at fixed odds meaning the pay out is agreed at the time of the wager. Betting exchanges also offer sports bets where they act as a market place for gamblers to trade wagers between each other at different prices and quantities.

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