Gaming machines and gambling odds refresher course

If you've already completed your Responsible Service of Gambling (RSG) training, this course will help refresh your knowledge about:

  • how gaming machines work
  • the true odds of winning while gambling
  • common gaming machine myths.

Once you've read the information, take the quiz to see how much you remember.

This course is designed to help gaming staff refresh their knowledge about key elements of RSG training. It doesn't replace RSG training and certification.

How gaming machines work

Gaming machines are also often referred to as poker machines, pokies or EGMs (electronic gaming machines).

Venue staff must know how gaming machines work so they can advise patrons if necessary.

Gaming machines are designed to earn revenue for venues. They're not designed for players to make money.

EMGs are run by a computer program that randomly generates tens of thousands of possible outcomes per play. If there's a win, the player gets paid in credits. They can play again or collect the amount on the credit meter.

Parts of a gaming machine

The Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation (OLGR) assesses all gaming equipment in Queensland to ensure it complies with legislation, standards and policies.

Gaming machine parts include:

  • a computer that controls the random number generator
  • a video screen that displays the game
  • a note accepter where the paper money is stored
  • a note validator that checks the money is genuine
  • Ticket in ticket out (TITO) and/or card-based functionality
  • a hopper that stores the coins (some of the latest machines don't have a hopper)
  • speakers that play the machine sounds
  • an alarm that sounds if someone tries to tamper with the machine.

How much money people spend per play

The structure and design of gaming machines can make players think they're not betting much money. For example, 1 cent multi-lines can be confusing—1 cent by 25 lines is actually 25 cents a spin. At 20 spins per minute, players could be betting $5 a minute or $300 an hour.

The true odds of winning when gambling

Some gamblers think it's possible to influence or predict the outcome of the pokies, but that's not true. There's no way to change the outcome of a play because gaming machines are designed to be random and tamper proof.

Each outcome is independent of previous plays. You can't influence the result by having a 'favourite' machine, arriving at a certain time or wearing a 'lucky' shirt.

The truth is, with gaming machines you only have around a 1 in 7,000,000 chance of winning the top prize (playing maximum lines, ways or patterns).

Gaming machines must have a return of between 85% and 92% over their lifetime. This means that for every dollar bet on a gaming machine, between 85 and 92 cents is returned to gamblers over time (casinos set the upper limit on the return to players).

You can't expect to get that 85% to 92% back for every dollar you bet. The return is paid out over the lifetime of the machine. Gaming machines usually function for 3 to 4 years and have approximately 1 million turnovers.

You can't influence wins on a gaming machine, just as you can't ever predict the outcome of a play.

Video transcript

Common myths busted about gaming machine wins

Some of the common myths about poker machine wins include:

  • Touching the buttons a certain way will influence a payout.
  • Gaming machines pay out at certain times of the day.
  • Concentrating or positive thinking helps you win.
  • Losing makes you more likely to win next time.
  • Lucky items like a special shirt will make you win.
  • Your favourite machine will increase your chance of winning.

If patrons or staff hold unrealistic beliefs like those listed above, they may be showing signs of gambling-related harm.

Follow the safer gambling policies and procedures of your venue to respond to the situation appropriately. Ask your customer liaison officer (CLO) or approved manager if you're unsure.

Quiz: Gaming machines and gambling odds

Now you've refreshed your knowledge, take the quiz to see how much you remember.

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