9 November 2011

Training children to gamble?

| Damien Haas
Join the conversation
shell game

The new Tunza-Fun at Belconnen Mall has NO PINBALL machines, and you have to buy a swipe card to play any games. This swipe card may or may not have a ‘pre-committment’ limit.

What amazes me is that Tunza-Fun have this ‘shell game’ which is just a junior poker machine. You actually win credits/tickets and can claim prizes – surely this is gambling? it is aimed squarely at children and teenagers.

Maybe the Casino should install a row of these ?

Join the conversation

All Comments
  • All Comments
  • Website Comments

M0les said :

I’m hereby boycotting Tunza-Fun until they get pinball machines in (Adams Family or at least any Bally/Williams ones – Data East and Gottlieb suck).

+1 , Addams family definately, closely followed by Guns ‘n Roses..

Pinball machines ar slowly disappearing from everywhere – even The Basements pinball machine has recently disappeared.

i dont think this shell game machine is a game of skill. its gambling.

donations to the labour club?

Is that a linked jackpot on top? Do they bring drinks? Hypnotic sounds?

Skilltester / claw machines are a scam. There was a thread about this recently at the Aussie Arcade forums. The operator sets a payout ratio (eg 11:1). You have zero chance of winning if it’s not time to pay out. When a payout is due (in the example given, when ten other suckers have put their money into the machine, and you’re the eleventh player since the last payout), there’s still a possibility of losing if the claw strength has been set low and you try to grab a toy that isn’t just sitting loose on top. A nice youTube video here. Search for ‘skill tester hacking’ for videos of people emptying these machines in short order.

I’m hereby boycotting Tunza-Fun until they get pinball machines in (Adams Family or at least any Bally/Williams ones – Data East and Gottlieb suck).

I’m fine with the kiddies’ poker machines solong as a significant proportion of the “tax on the numerically-impaired” is funnelled-into subsidising beer prices.

I’ve always thought that the claw game (or “skill tester” as it is known sometimes) is a form of gambling, mainly because the game cheats and only sometimes grips the prizes hard enough to actually pick them up.


“Many modern cranes use a computer to determine a payout percentage based on the operators settings, in the manner that the claw would have a strong grasp on objects only on a certain percentage of attempts.”

I wondered the same thing at the Tuggeranong Tenpin Bowl the other day,a huge machine with a spinning wheel and numbers ,no skill just the promise of a jackpot of tickets at $2.00 a pop.
To me this is absolutely gambling for kids and should be BANNED.
Gambling is for adults who can make informed decisions and even that doesn’t end well for some adults.


The regulations to the Gaming Machine Act 2004 contain the definition of what is not a gaming machine,
Each of the following devices is not a gaming machine:
(a) a device for playing a game of skill only;
(b) an amusement device that usually involves an element of skill
and is played for entertainment only;
a pinball machine
(c) a device that—
(i) is ordinarily found at fairs, fetes or shows; and
(ii) usually involves an element of skill; and
(iii) is played mainly for entertainment, whether or not a prize
is offered or given.
‘Laughing clowns’ amusement machine

Having not played this game but having played similar games it is clear there is an element of skill involved.

I’m with everyone else, non issue, move on.

I take your point damien, but have a few thoughts …

– ticket machines are nothing new in games arcades; the old Intencity had them; the tenpin bowl has them; Timezone have them; they’re very well entrenched.

– the prizes on offer are so p1ssweak and/or expensive (in terms of tix needed) that I would argue that even a child would quiickly learn that they’d be better off just saving up and going and buying any item they may actually want. Typically the kids will only collect a small number of tix, which are spent on lollies.

– I’ve not seen the machine you’ve singled out. Is this shell game a “randomly” generated event, or does the player get to see where the ball went in initially? If the latter, then it could be argued this is a game of skill, not pokie-style gambling. What I’ve seen of other ticket machines is that they normally do reward skill, so maximising ticket collect is a realistic goal.

fwiw, I don’t see the fascination in these ticket games, and have gotten some joy from seeing the kids charge up to the display case with a fistful of tix, only to learn that all they can get is junk. Hence, I reckon the gloss is coming off for the kids, too. The ultimate effect may well be the opposite of inculcating young punters.

Crossing The Road Is Also A Gamble-Ban That As Well??

Dont look now but your kids are playing slot machines and poker on your smart phone…

What about the ‘traditional’ coin waterfall machine (where you drop coins in and hope that lots more get pushed over the edge for you to collect). They are gambling machines as well.

Daily Digest

Want the best Canberra news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Riotact stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.