17 Jan

History of Pokies in Darwin

Named after Charles Darwin, and first seen by Europeans in 1839, the city of Darwin has had a short and somewhat rocky history. It was bombed by the Japanese during the Second World War, and was also the victim of a catastrophic cyclone, which struck on Christmas Day 1975 and devastated the community.

One of their few saving graces is that gambling, one of Australia’s most popular pastimes, has enjoyed more of a history in the Northern Territory (where Darwin is located) than in any other Australian state. The real history for this state began in the 1970s, when land-based casinos were legalized and licenses for these began to be handed out.

The Mindil Beach Casino opened in 1983 in Darwin, shepherding an age of licensed gambling that allowed punters from across the province to gamble on everything from blackjack, roulette and poker, to pokies, which were then at the dawn of their huge popularity. This casino was taken over by the government of Darwin in the mid-1980s, who left the original owners with little choice but to sell to them. The price they paid was on the short side by all accounts, and the Mindil Beach Casino, and everything it contained, changed ownership and name.

This was not the first time in its history that it changed name and ownership. In fact, just a few years later, what had then become the Diamond Beach Hotel and Casino switched allegiances again, becoming Aspinall’s before it was bought by casino giants MGM Grand in 1995, and then by SkyCity in 2004.

These days the SkyCity Casino is the only licensed casino in the city of Darwin. It is open 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Pokies are king here, as they are across the rest of the country, and there are over 700 of them on the casino floor. Whilst the tables are only open for half of the day, the pokies are open all of the time, and some of the biggest and best machines include Reels of Wheels, Goliath and Ghostbusters. There are new machines added all of the time, with the older and less popular ones making way for them. There are plenty of progressive jackpots to win, and players need to be at least 18 years old (and be able to prove it) in order to play on these machines.

Bookmaking has also had a strong tradition in Darwin, and in 1996 the Northern Territory became the first state to legalize this form of gambling, which came in the shape of Centrebet. This bookmakers also went online just a few years after it was launched, and just a few years later, in 1999, lucky patcher apk the Northern Territory also saw the release of the first legal Australian online casino. Known as Lasseters Online, it stemmed from a land-based casino of the same name, and offered something new and exciting for the internet age.

These days most Australians have access to online gambling, and they often gamble on International websites such as those offered by the Fortune Lounge Group (Royal Vegas Casino, Platinum Play, Euro Palace, etc,.) where pokies are in plenty supply and there are hundreds of different types to choose from. Australians are pretty much free to gamble wherever they choose though and there is no end to the choice available to them. There are also more pokies located throughout the country than ever before, and although this is good news for many, for others it has created problems.

Gambling addiction is a growing problem in Darwin and in Australia on the whole, but there are measures in place to curb the problems that arise from such an addiction. The Problem Gambling website can help Australians who think that their gambling is having too much of a negative effect on their lives, whilst Darwinians can exclude themselves from the SkyCity Casino using their Self Exclusion policy. After making the decision to exclude themselves and filling in the correct form, if problem gamblers then enter the casino and gamble, then both the casino and the gambler will face significant fines.