29th May2020

7 Years in Australian iGaming Business: Interview with the CEO of Pokieslab

by James Smith

Gambling is becoming more and more popular every year. Now it is one of the most popular entertainments in the world. There are significantly more new players, new games are being released more often, and the revenues of developer companies are growing at an incredible speed. The steady growth of the gambling industry is attracting new people eager to understand and start their online casino business, especially in Australia, which is considered one of the main leaders in the gaming field.

To deal with the nuances of running an online casino business in Australia and uncover the secrets of a quick and stable start – we invited Martin Johnson for an interview. Martin is the CEO of pokieslab.com and an experienced gambling player. Pokieslab – is a successful startup in the field of free slot machines, which has collected on its platform a plurality of the best slots.

Martin will provide accessible and detailed answers to critical questions about the gaming industry in Australia and the path he created a business there. To a greater extent, with examples based on the successful launch of Pokieslab, we will redirect attention to the disclosure of topics such as the legalization of gambling and the laws, the finest features of gambling on the Internet, and their adaptation during a strictly regulated market in Australia.

As CEO, please tell about Pokieslab creation, how did it all begin?

Martin Johnson, Pokieslab CEO: It all started with the fact that my friend Peter and I, as avid players in online slots, wanted to create a place where only the best online slot machines would be assembled. We tried to collect slot machines with the best rates, excellent bonuses, and great chances to win. That is how pokieslab.com was born. And we also tried to make sure that all players had the opportunity to play their favorite games on our website for free without registration, deposits, and downloading.

Can you tell us about your job?

Martin: Initially, when creating pokieslab.com, my task was to ensure the legitimacy of our casino on the Internet and follow all the laws in the vastness of the Australian gaming market. Since I have a partial legal education, it wasn’t difficult for me, and even, on the contrary, it was nice to recall my legal practice. Now I deal with more difficult tasks as a CEO and follow our platform’s correct development so that it continues to support the initially conceived moments with which we created it and differed significantly from competitors.

Why did you choose Australia as a target market?

Martin: I was born in Australia, and I know well most of the country’s laws and the gaming industry. Probably it has most influenced why we chose the Australian gaming market. We also chose Australia because the state was very loyal to the gambling business. The market has many excellent developers, and the popularity of gambling is overgrowing every year.

Does legislation allow you to offer services for Australians?

Martin: Since our platform is based on free slot machines, yes, we can offer our services to Australians. On the contrary, as a result of a law issued in 2001, it was forbidden to provide real-money games or advertise them for Australian residents. It doesn’t mean that it is not legal to offer free online gambling. Alternatively, the law allows companies to provide their game services for real money outside the country. That is why, although we are aimed at the Australian market, we have registration outside the country.

Do you need a license to run Pokieslab?

Martin: Pokieslab itself does not need a license, since all slots and providers that are located on the platform have the necessary permits, and the platform offers players free versions of the pokies. Slot machine suppliers must have licenses for their gaming activities’ transparency and reliability, which contributes to the proper control of certain authorities and ensures the safety of players. Special game licenses help protect the personal data of players, control age restrictions, guarantee honesty. Also, they are responsible for the use of games. Obtaining a license in Australia is not very difficult. The main thing is to collect the necessary package of documents, pay a fee, and wait for your request to be considered. Obtaining a license in Australia can cost at least 177,450 euros. The amount depends on many factors, including the number of co-owners. The more of them, the greater amount.

How has online gambling market changed over the last 5-7 years in Australia?

Martin: First of all, the popularity of slot machines has increased significantly in recent years, especially in Australia. It is growing, as well as the number of players. The legislation in the country has changed a lot. Online gambling has become more controlled, received many restrictions, such as reducing the maximum possible bet in online slots. However, they have become more secure and honest for players, allowing gamers who are already worried about starting playing.

How do trends affect market slot machines?

Martin: The market for online slot machines has begun to change dramatically, and many trends are seeping into networked casinos. Most slots become more than just a familiar slot machine and resemble arcade games with levels that attract more users who like a more open storyline in games. To create online slots, innovative methods of virtual reality are heavily used. The great focus of developers is based on creating games primarily for mobile devices and attracting functions for developing various skills for players. At Pokieslab, we try to keep track of innovations and timely add proven trending slots to our database, which ensures the growth of new users and the preservation of existing ones.

How has Coronavirus impacted the gaming industry and your site in particular?

Martin: The introduction of quarantine and the closure of various entertainment venues had a significant impact on the sharp rise in demand for online slot machines and the collapse of land-based casinos. People began to play more without leaving home. A visit to the Pokieslab website has grown many times. Players come to play the games they know for free or try their hand at something new. Almost all land-based casinos are at a loss due to the Coronavirus, they think through and develop the possibility of quickly luring offline players to the networked platform. Create attractive bonuses and fast, convenient registration. But despite the tough situation, I still believe that casinos will have long-term growth during the Covid-19 pandemic. To a greater extent, my confidence is based on various reports and research, such as a report from 888 Holdings.

Can you comment on phishing scams at online casinos?

Martin: Unfortunately, this is a real situation; the number of fraudulent activities increased during the quarantine. People receive letters to their emails, in which scammers lure naive citizens with various bonuses. Such actions are mainly carried out to obtain the personal data of ordinary people, even non-existing in online gambling, and the spread of malware. Therefore, you need to protect yourself and use the casino with a license. It guarantees your safety.

Based on what we discussed and the current situation on the market, will you advise you to invest in online casinos and open your own business?

Martin: Definitely, yes. Investing online is always beneficial. The situation with Covid-19 and the isolation period that surfaced from it shows how offline business can be doomed and how it can take off online. Many are already predicting a new wave of incidence in the second half of 2020. It is also logical that people will spend most of their time at home for a very long time and will be involved in online entertainment. It predicts the rapid growth of online players. The opening of an online casino is much simpler and easier than its ground-based version.

Is it easy to start? How do you start an online pokies business?

Martin: Despite the ponderability of the online gambling industry, building a business in it is not as hard as it might seem at first glance. I will try to describe the most necessary steps: After you have decided on your company, you need to register and get a license for online gambling. A license is probably the most important thing at the beginning of the gaming business. Without it, you better not move on. Next, select a server to run an online casino. Consider the stability and security of the selected server. With a reliable server, you protect yourself and all your users. Choosing a software provider. You need to choose a reliable supplier with whom you can compete with existing companies. Hire qualified specialists that are into the idea of growing in iGaming sphere. Delegate your daily responsibilities and focus on strategic planning. Do not forget about the constant growth of your business, originality, and attention to innovation.

These are the most basic initial steps to which you need to pay close attention:

To go further, if you created a slots game, what would it be?

Martin: What an interesting question. Well, to begin with, it’s better to explain using an existing slot, so I’ll take Queen of the Nile pokie. I like this slot, it has high winning rates, an interesting plot and beautiful graphics, the only thing I don’t like is the music, but you can turn it off. First of all, I would change the music, or rather, I would make a playlist, like in music game slots, in the theme of Egypt or the East, and not just one music artist. Further, I would add more realism to the symbols, and the game itself, and even better would make the Queen of the Nile slot with elements of virtual reality using Egyptian flavor.
And the last one, I would increase the payout percentage, add more new bonuses, and a risky game with a particular video show in the style of Cleopatra. Maybe, I could have made a second series of slots for advanced players.

What do you think the future holds for online pokies? What are your Business and Trends predictions?

Martin: If you look at the statistics and the information coming from it that the providers are developing rapidly and each year there are more and more games along with the number of players – you can easily assume further significant growth in the future. Many land-based casinos will increasingly go online. I believe that only the future is online. Even the constant issuance of various laws to control the gaming market will not greatly affect its development and growth. The laws are fairly strict, but they are flexible enough for knowledgeable representatives of the gambling market. The safer gambling becomes due to various authorities’ control, the more new users will join the ranks of players, as they will have less anxiety. New technologies, high-speed stable 5G Internet, and advanced mobile devices will significantly affect the gaming industry and create various changes in it. Those companies that are stepping forward and already started introducing innovations will lead in the next few years. Many companies will follow the trend to be a licensed brand that seeks to completely protect its users and help them easily play for a long time without significant losses.

What are the trends mainly in the gaming market in Australia?

Martin: Australia has similar trends with other leading countries in the gaming business. The only thing I can highlight is the poker industry, which has had great changes in recent years. Most of the corrections to interactive gambling really hit poker in Australia. Several poker companies left the Australian market forever, mainly those that could not adapt to the new laws. After them, new poker rooms appeared that took advantage of the situation and entered the market. New companies attract users with generous deposit bonuses and game security. Online slots are crowding out poker, and its failure is possible soon if poker companies do not make global changes.


This interview helps to understand the main points in the online gambling market, both in Australia and outside the continent. It also shows the changes in the industry and predicts possible future ones. The interview answers give a good understanding and help in opening your online gaming business in Australia.

  • Expanded understanding of where to start and how the gaming business works. What are the first steps to opening your gaming business? What do you need first to pay attention to?
  • Licensed game business. The license also provides a stable and confident flow of new users. They will choose security and protection in addition to the legality of actions and the proper conduct of business.
  • Proper continuation of successful business construction after registration and obtaining a license. Building a profitable growth plan in times of legislative oversight and the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Competitiveness. What to do for a profitable start and identify an impressive advantage among your competitors. The ability to stay on top of the gaming market, direct funding, and attention to innovation, technology, accessibility, security, legality.
  • Planning for the future. Prediction of future trends and using them.

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