Where Did the Term ‘Pokies’ Originate From?

It is not uncommon for some of the most popular games to have their names shortened or have nicknames. League of Legends is shortened to League or LoL, World of Warcraft gets shortened to WoW or Warcraft, and of course, PUBG is much easier to say than PlayUnknown Battleground.

The language used around the game is as much about inside knowledge as region dialect.

In the case of pokies, if you have even been to Australia or New Zealand – you’ll already know why this shortening of words happens. It is easy to let the mind wander for a moment with what pokies might mean – after all, how many times have you been surprised about a slang term? Quite a few, most likely!

Where Did the Name Pokies Come From?

If you have heard the word pokies in movies or even read it online, you might’ve wondered what it meant. If you don’t have the context, it can be confusing.

Going back to the wonderful Aussies and New Zealanders – Aussies like to shorten everything, and the pokies are precisely that.

Pokies is short for slot machines.

If you are wondering how you get pokie from a slot machine, don’t worry – all will be revealed.

When you are in the land down under, you’re going to hear plenty of abbreviations. Surfie for a surfer, Aussie for Australian, Mozzie of Mosquito, and relative ends up and rellie.

With this logic, you might think that a slot machine would be shorted to a slotty, but slot machines have different names all over.

In England, it might be called a fruit machine; in America, it would be a slot machine. In Canada, you might say the slots, while it may be called a puggy in Scotland.

In Australia and New Zealand, they were initially called poker machines, and the abbreviated for poker machine? Pokie!

Pokies is a catch-all term, though. It could mean video slots, a traditional machine with a leaver, modern slots, online slots, and themed slots.

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Are the Pokies Popular in Australia?

Just like in America, you need to divide the vastness of Australia up to look at how popular the pokies are – and if they play more land-based or online pokies. Each state has different regulations based on the pokies.

Regardless of which state you look at, over 80% of Aussies will gamble at least once a year, and that is both online and off.

What makes the pokies particularly interesting is that since 2001, the Interactive Gambling Act meant that Australian bars and club owners are legally allowed to install a real-money pokie in their establishment.

At the moment, there are more pokies housed across the thousands of bars and clubs in Australia than in any other country.

Are the Pokies Popular in New Zealand?

Pokies are one of the most played casino games in New Zealand; they make up the most significant percentage of the profits that most land-based casinos will see. With the rise of online pokies, many NZers have switched online.

It wasn’t until 1991 that the pokies started to get popular though, the laws changed to allow the government institutions to control gambling clubs. But within a few short years, the newest technology in pokies hit the largest casinos in central cities.

These bright, fast-paced, and exciting versions of the pokies enticed new players in troves, and it soon became a game that everyone wanted to play.

The last 18 years have seen the pokies go from strength to strength, and NZers have also enjoyed the popularity and ease of online pokies.

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Why Are Online Pokies So Popular?

The player base and spending at online pokies and casinos have gone wild the last few years, the popularity has been titanic, and it’s not hard to see why. We have all enjoyed the ease of use that online shopping, banking, and communicating have given us.

So, of course, gaming would follow. What better way to play your favorite casino games than online?

So Why Are Online Pokies and Casinos So Popular in Australia and NZ?


After a long day at work, is there anything better than putting on your loungewear, sitting on the couch, and relaxing? Not much! You can play any game you want from the comfort of your own home – and even from your bed. Pokies, poker, blackjack – you name, it’s ready when you are.


Who doesn’t like better value for money? Online pokies offer free spins, cashback, better signup bonuses, loyalty bonuses, and more. It begs the question, why would you go back to a land-based casino with all of the savings and incentives.


If you online like to play one specific type of pokie, and there is a limited amount in your local casino – then chances are you will have to wait for it to become free. This can put a significant dampener on your game time.

Playing the pokies online means that no matter if you like zombies, rainbows, or music-based pokies, you can always play the one you love. You don’t have to wait for someone to stop playing.

Pokie, puggy, slots, fruit machines – no matter what you call them are popular the world over. They are easy to learn, simple to enjoy, and offer one of the most relaxing ways to play games alone or with friends – online and off.