In the north ofMelbourne, at around 10 AM on a cold Wednesday morning, where just a few shops are open at theEppingPlazaand only few have any customers, one business is enjoying bustling trade.Victoria’s most popular poker machine venue, the Epping Plaza Hotel sees over $57,000 lost on its pokies by the end of the day, and these losses are repeated daily.
It’s a result only few people would have foreseen about twenty years ago, when the first two poker machine venues were introduced toVictoria, in Croydon and Footscray. But, while there has been a massive increase in the level of player losses and the number of machines, some things still remain the same. Although the casino has some of the most sophisticated machines in the world, there has yet to be a switch to e-payments for losses. The venue echoes with the clattering of gold coins on silver trays – money from the payout. It’s a trick to encourage the clueless punters to go on hitting the button with the hope of a big win.
More than half of the venue’s poker machines are at least forty years old, and evenly split between women and men. The venue carries on operation for almost the entire day, only closing for four hours due to legal regulations. With the increasing popularity of gambling games like slots, roulette and video poker among others, there is more emphasis on RSG courses that prepare hospitality industry workers to deal with different scenarios and manage patrons properly.