Online gambling games, particularly online pokies, are increasingly resembling video games in terms of graphics and interactive elements. Advances in technology have enabled casino software developers to create 3D games with impressive visuals. Some online slots, or pokies, as they are known in Australia, even incorporate video game mechanics such as mini-games that involve shooting targets or spinning wheels to win prizes. However, despite these similarities, online pokies fundamentally differs from skill-based video games. The outcomes of online pokies are predominantly determined by luck, with little to no influence from the player’s skill level.

Luck vs. Skill in the Online Pokies Universe

In online slots, the outcome of each spin is determined by a random number generator (RNG), which relies on algorithms to ensure randomness. This means the results are based purely on chance, without any influence from the player’s skills. However, game developers and casino operators can influence the potential winnings by setting the return to player (RTP) rate, which is the percentage of all wagered money returned to players over time.

The only strategy players can use to improve their chances of winning is to choose games with higher RTP rates. While skills in video games do not affect the outcome of pokies, some pokies do incorporate features where luck is not the sole determining factor, providing a whole different gaming experience.

Skill-Based Features in Online Pokies

Traditionally, pokies are games based entirely on chance. They’re relatively simple to play, with the machine doing the hard work for you, all you need to do is place a bet and let the reels spin. You can read more on how to play pokies online for casino players at You will find comprehensive guides on how slots work, how to understand pay tables, recommended games, and more.

In recent years, technological advancements in the software industry have enabled the creation of more sophisticated games with a variety of exciting features. Some of these features incorporate skill-based elements using video game mechanics. These are often mini-games within the main game, providing opportunities to boost winnings.


For instance, a successful spin might lead to a skill-based bonus game where players can double their money. The nature of these bonus games depends on the creativity of the game developers and can range from shooting games, where players aim to hit targets for prizes, to racing games or puzzles similar to Tetris.

Main Differences Between Video Games and Slot Games

Although modern online pokies might contain some video game elements, particularly those inspired by classic arcade games from the 1990s, they differ significantly from video games in several key aspects:

Player’s Objective

Video games are primarily designed for entertainment, offering players engaging experiences. In contrast, online pokies provide excitement through the opportunity to win (or lose) real money. However, there are still free pokies available that let you enjoy the game without the need to spend real money. These free versions allow players to experience the excitement and entertainment value of pokies while avoiding the potential downsides of gambling with real money.

Game Narrative

Many video games, especially contemporary ones, feature intricate backstories. For instance, “The Last of Us,” a best-selling game set in a dystopian future, has a narrative compelling enough to inspire a 2023 HBO TV series. Online pokies, on the other hand, have not yet achieved such mainstream narrative depth.

Game Objective

Video games often have a defined objective, such as saving Princess Peach in “Super Mario.” Once achieved, the game concludes. Online pokies, however, allow continuous play as long as the player’s budget permits, without a fixed endpoint.

Similarities Shared by Pokies and Video Games

While pokies and video games serve different purposes and have different gameplay mechanics, they share some common features. These similarities help to connect the two forms of entertainment, making them appealing to a wider audience. Let’s take a closer look at these similarities:

Visual Appeal

Modern pokies increasingly resemble video games in terms of graphics, with many featuring eye-catching 3D animations that evoke a video game aesthetic.

Narratives and Themes

Although pokies may not have as elaborate narratives as video games, they often share similar themes, especially those inspired by classic arcade games.

The Audience

The visual and thematic elements overlap, attracting similar audiences to slot and video games. Fans of retro arcade games, in particular, tend to enjoy both types of entertainment.

Final Thoughts

As the lines between online pokies and video games continue to blur, players are offered increasingly immersive and interactive gaming experiences.


While the core mechanics of pokies remain rooted in chance, integrating skill-based elements and video game-like features adds a new dimension to this classic form of entertainment. As technology advances, we expect to see even more innovative developments in online gambling, further bridging the gap between these two popular gaming genres.