Hi-tech pokies chase young gamers

Hi-tech pokies chase young gamers, by Clare Masters - 22nd April 2008
(Credit: The Daily Telegraph)

# Gambling machines could get videogame-style graphics
# Gen Y gamblers could be lured in with customisation features

A new futuristic line of poker machines with Xbox-style graphics will rake in a younger generation of gamblers according to experts.

The hi-tech machines will use better graphics and interactive technology to appeal to junior punters and will be designed to be as versatile as a home computer.

The plan for more sophisticated, hi-tech pokies was canvassed at a recent Future Trends in Gaming conference in Queensland, where major industry organisations outlined their vision to attract younger players.

"I don't think (gaming rooms) are an environment Generation Y wants to be in. They get bored easily," Justin Brown of Aristocrat Leisure Industries told the conference.

"How do we get them into venues? Group activities and games are the way of the future - as are challenges and tournaments."

An Aristocrat spokesman told The Daily Telegraph Mr Brown declined to comment further but confirmed he had made the statements.

Ross Ferrar, from the Australasian Gaming Machine Manufacturers Association, backed the plan, saying gaming machines needed to be updated to be more in line with 21st century technology.

"At the end of the day where all this is headed is making the equipment more similar to mass IT equipment," he said.

"Gen Y wants to do things like change the background colour or put their favourite character in."

The plan was condemned by anti-pokie advocates, who said it was a manoeuvre to rope in new gamblers.

"It is fundamental to their business plan to target (Generation Y), there is so much money at stake," World Vision Australia chief executive Tim Costello said.

The State Government is also alarmed about the spike in young pokie punters and has commissioned a study into help for junior gambling addicts.

The move follows a report that found young men who left school at Year 10 were over-represented among problem gamblers.

"I am concerned that research has shown that problem gamblers are more likely to be 18 to 24-year-old males," a spokeswoman for Gaming Minister Graham West said.

The Government is working on a campaign that will use internet and SMS technologies to educate young gamblers.

Mr Ferrar said the shift towards more user-friendly machines was partly because of younger gaming designers.

"It may be more appealing to Gen Y but it's also about making the game as entertaining as possible to everyone," he said.

He said there was a 10-step process of gaining approval for new games, which could take up to three years.

Readers comments

Greg Tingle comment

What about online gaming. Have a look at Virgin Casino, 888 and Golden Palace for example. I think its too late for the clubs to cash in on the young. The internet is where the actions at.





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