Queensland’s Office of Liquor & Gaming Regulation recently released a spotlight on the state’s electronic gaming machines and their role in the Sunshine State community.
EGMs first became operational in Queensland in February 1992, and were initially owned and monitored by the State government.
As the industry grew, the government withdrew from ownership and in 1999 licensed monitoring operators took over the role of overseeing gaming venues.
Further changes were made to regulation in subsequent years, with new legislation introduced to address developments in the industry and technology, and community expectations around harm minimisation.
Significant outcomes in legislation included:
- Caps on the number of machines* in hotels (19,500) and clubs (24,705)
- Introduction of the use of ‘Authorities’ to operate gaming machines in hotels, and ‘Entitlements’ in clubs
- Reallocation schemes distributing machines throughout the State
Advancement also saw the licensed monitors using the QCOM protocol across the network, which allows EGMs to communicate. The recent introduction of the new QCOM 3 system is seen as a major advance over the previous (v1.6), taking advantage of the latest technology and security standards. And 2019 is slated to see the introduction of a new licensed monitor, disrupting the long-standing duopoly currently in place.
The latest OLGR figures show Queensland EGMs garnered $2.286bn in FY17. This is an increase of 14.04 per cent on the regulator’s figures reported for FY13 – considerably ahead of CPI, which was a cumulative 10.0 per cent over the same period.
But the growth is explained by the population increase seen in the State, up 12.9 per cent over the same time frame. Accordingly, the average gaming expenditure across the adult population has risen only 7.96 per cent, from $565 to $610 – shy of the $622 projected using CPI.
*FY18 reports a total of 42,177 EGMs in operational throughout 1,129 Queensland venues; 19,166 in 719 hotels (45.54%) and 23,011 in 410 clubs.