Vintage Slot Collector Wants Aussie Law Change After Gambling Prosecution

A Queensland, Australia vintage arcade-machine enthusiast has been fined under state gambling laws for possessing decommissioned old-school slot machines, The Courier Mail reports. Now, Greg Selman wants the law changed so that hobbyists like him can pursue their interests without fear of prosecution.

Greg Selman, pokies, slots, Queensland
Greg Selman in his mancave in Queensland, above, where he tinkers with vintage slots and arcade machines. (Image: Michael Nolan/Courier Mail)

Selman was the first person to be charged under Queensland’s 1991 Gaming Machine Act, a law designed to target organized crime and illegal casinos. That’s after agents from the state’s Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation raided his mancave shed last year.

They found two slot machines, or “pokies,” as they are known in Australia, that had been restored by the hobbyist.

Specifically, Selman was charged with unlawfully selling a gaming machine, unlawfully possessing a gaming machine, and two counts of possessing restricted components, despite the machines no longer functioning as gambling devices

He pleaded guilty earlier this month and was fined A$4K (US$2.7K). Prosecutors had sought A$15K (US$10K).

Law is an Ass

Selman has written to all of Queensland’s politicians asking for a review of the law, which he calls “imprecise” because it fails to delineate between commercial and private usage.

In a petition launched by Selman on, he notes that the law’s current language technically categorizes a crane machine as an unlicensed gambling device.

It currently defines a gaming machine as a machine that either accepts a token or adjusts credits. However, it lacks specifications such as the crucial differentiation between ‘pokies’ or ‘slot machines’ and other formats of gaming machines like arcade machines,” Selman wrote.

“This lack of clarity results in the misclassification and, unfortunately, prosecution of hobbyists merely executing their passions,” he said.

‘No Intent’

Selman admitted to being ignorant of the law prior to his prosecution. He said tinkering with decommissioned slots is legal in his native New Zealand.

When contacted by The Courier Mail, lawmaker Jim McDonald agreed that the law should be reviewed.

“Criminal law is about intent and there is no intent to defraud anyone in Mr Selman’s case,” McDonald said. “It is about getting the balance right. This is an old law, and it is not appropriate to punish innocent collectors.”

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