No New Slot Machines in Australia’s Northern Territory Until at Least Next Year

The plan to allow new slot machines in Australia’s Northern Territory (NT) is now off the table. The idea was to authorize up to 60 in bars and restaurants, but the public backlash proved to be greater than authorities expected.

A sign at the entrance to the Northern Territory in Australia welcomes visitors. The state is suspending applications for slot machine licenses following public backlash. (Image: Shutterstock)

Last month, the NT government announced that it was considering a proposal that would allow Iris Capital to add up to 60 slots in Alice Springs. There was resistance as soon as the announcement was made, but it only got stronger from there.

In a new update from the NT’s gaming minister, Chansey Paech, the government decided to pull the request after receiving around 700 complaints from the state’s citizens. Officials will now head back to the drawing board to put together a new proposal, the product of which will be revealed sometime in the first half of next year.

In The Iris of the Storm

Iris purchased Casino Canberra in the Australian Capital Territory in July, one of several recent acquisitions. The purchases allowed it to greatly expand its Australian footprint, but it wasn’t done.

The company then approached NT about adding the new slots. This was only a few months after it picked up the Lasseters Casino in Alice Springs from Quilter Assets as part of its shopping spree. With that acquisition, it had already gained 132 new slots in the state.

Another 60 would saturate the market, as well as lead to more problem gambling, according to the feedback NT received. Currently, without the new addition, there is already one slot for every 94 people in the state, according to government figures.

As a result, NT wants to stop and evaluate its licensing process for gambling machines. Paech and other government officials will now undertake that assignment and determine the best course of action.

The decision doesn’t affect only Iris. The government is suspending the entire licensing program for new slots, meaning no one will be able to apply until NT is ready. Local media reports that this will likely be June of next year.

Online Slots Popularity Rises

For many gambling jurisdictions, slot machines offer guaranteed income. In Las Vegas, for example, the Nevada Gaming Control Board reports that 70% of gamblers are slot players. They’re easy to learn and play, making them a favorite with casino patrons.

However, online gaming has ushered in a new era of gambling. The slot machine manufacturers that embrace the transition are those that will lead the way.

As Australia continues to tighten its land-based slot machine market, one of the oldest manufacturers in the industry is embracing the future. Australia-based Aristocrat Leisure Ltd, which dates back to 1953, is advancing its iGaming footprint.

Aristocrat once had its eye on Playtech, but the deal fell through. It has still been targeting the real money gaming (RMG) iGaming segment and announced today that it found its latest acquisition.

The company is negotiating the purchase of Anzo Group subsidiary Roxor Gaming Ltd, a London-based B2B online gaming company. The company already has access to the UK and US markets, giving Aristocrat a springboard to advance its RMG ambitions.

The acquisition includes Roxor’s two in-house game development studios, as well as its network of operations and affiliated. Aristocrat didn’t provide the financials of the deal. However, it said that it hopes to complete the purchase sometime in the first quarter of next year. That’s only slightly later than it had previously hoped.

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