How gaming machines work

Gaming machines (pokies) earn revenue for venues; they are not designed to make money for players.

As venue staff, you must be informed about how gaming machines work and advise patrons whenever necessary.

How gaming machine plays work

Modern electronic gaming machines are run by a computer program that randomly generates thousands of possible outcomes for each play.

In a play, the gaming machine takes the credits you have bet and then randomly determines the outcome of that play. If there is a win, you get paid credits; if not, you can:

  • play the game again
  • or
  • collect the amount on the credit meter by pressing the collect button.

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

How much money goes into gaming machines per play

The structure and design of gaming machines can make players think that they are not betting much money. One cent multi-lines are a good example. People can find these confusing and not understand how much money they are betting. One cent by 25 lines is actually 25 cents a spin. At 20 spins per minute this equals $5 a minute or $300 an hour.

What gaming machines consist of

Some gamblers may think it is possible to influence the outcome when playing the pokies. There is no way to change the outcome of a play because pokies are designed to be random and tamper-proof. All gaming equipment for use in Queensland is assessed by the Office of Liquor and Gaming's Gaming Services Branch Technical Unit 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
  • a hopper that stores the coins
  • speakers that play the machine sounds
  • an alarm that goes off if someone tries to break into the machine.

Also consider...


General enquiries 13 QGOV (13 74 68)

  • Licence and permit enquiries

1300 072 322

  • Gaming compliance enquiries

  • Liquor compliance enquiries

  • Media enquiries (07) 3738 8555