Effective date: 30 September 2011
Last amended: 5 September 2016
Next review: January 2017
This Policy is designed to provide information in regard to the subject matter covered, and with the understanding that the Gaming and Wagering Commission is not passing legal opinion or interpretation or other professional advice. The information is
provided on the understanding that all persons undertake responsibility for assessing the relevance and accuracy of its contents.
The purpose of this policy is to provide guidelines used by the Gaming and Wagering Commission (the Commission) in determining whether a game played by an electronic gaming machine (EGM) that is not a poker machine is authorised for use at the casino.
As there is no definition within Western Australian legislation that clearly differentiates between EGMs and poker machines, this policy provides a background on the current policy stance taken by the Gaming and Wagering Commission.
Any gaming machine of the kind generally known or described as a poker machine, fruit machine (or any similar machine) is prohibited in Western Australia under section 85 of the Gaming and Wagering Commission Act 1987. Further, section 22 of the Casino
Control Act 1984allows the Commission to declare games authorised for use at the Casino, with the exception of games played with poker machines.
Traditional mechanical poker machines were first invented in the late 1800s and involved the player pulling a handle that caused the reels to rotate. If a winning combination was displayed, the machine would pay out a predetermined amount of coins.
Historically, when poker machines changed from manual to an electronic medium, they moved closer to EGMs and continual advancements in technology has made it difficult to differentiate between the two types of machines.
Similarities include double up options, second screen feature, offering multiple games on the one machine, betting strategy (ie bets per line, number of lines etc), software, hardware etc.In December 2002, the Commission announced the principle guidelines
for EGM approval:
- Must not be a derivative of a poker machine;
- Must return at least 90% to the player; and
- Must have some form of player interaction.
Features of games
In December 2005, the Commission further clarified the above guidelines, by adopting other defining requirements for games played on a machine not to be considered a poker machine. These characteristics are detailed as follows and form part of the Western
Australian Appendix to the Gaming Machine National Standard:
- The game does not use a spinning reel display;
- Symbols are not in fixed positions; and
- Symbols rotate in their own plane.
- Player interaction:
- The player is required to interact in order to choose a strategy; and
- The game commences with the player depressing a 'start' button
- Speed of play:
- Each game takes a minimum of 5 seconds;
- The game does not have auto play.
- Winning combinations:
- Combinations are acceptable only if horizontal or vertical as follows:
- Winning combinations that represent conventional games are acceptable; and
- Multi line, multi directional winning combinations are not acceptable, for example:
- The following symbols are acceptable (on the basis that they are symbols that appear in games played in casinos):
- ball (keno, bingo and arishinko); and
- symbols that do not appear on poker machines in other states in Australia.
The Western Australian Appendix to the Gaming Machine National Standard provides further requirements for determining games to be played on EGMs as follows:
- Fairness: the player must be able to:
- Determine how to play the game;
- Determine all prizes won;
- Not be mislead about amount of control of pre-determined events and probability of winninga prize;
- Have the same probability of winning a prize for games that simulate real table games as if the game portrayed is played live (such as Keno).
- Rules of play:
- Rules of play are approved by the Commission and available to patrons.
- Misleading features:
- The game must be consistent and not misleading.
- Inaccurate perceptions of control or near miss displays are not permitted.
- Harm minimisation:
- All monies to credit meter.
- Independence of outcomes:
- Multiple outcomes must be independent of each other;
- Outcomes must not be derived from single random number calls such as a reel stopping position;
- All symbols that are used to generate an outcome need to be independently generated i.e. not a fixed reel strip.
- Chances of Winning:
- Where the EGM is a video representation of areal life casino game the probability of outcome must be the same as the game portrayed for example Keno with 10/10 spots.