After 35 years of stockbroking for some of the biggest houses and investors in Australia and the UK, the Secret Broker is regaling Stockhead readers with his colourful war stories — from the trading floor to the dealer’s desk.

There were some amazing stats out this week on how much is lost by Australians playing the pokies.

One article I read said that a poker machine in NSW can generate $88,000 in profits per year for their owners and that the average monthly punt individually was $30.

In NSW alone, there are 86,640 poker machines and in the first six months of 2022, punters in NSW lost $4 billion via the pokies. They punted away $2.4 billion in clubs and $1.6 billion at their local.

So, we know that all Australians like a punt and that Australia has the highest number of poker machines per capita in the world.

Why hop on a plane and go to Vegas, when you can just toodle down to your local, hop into a specially designed chair, along with drinks service and gamble away your money?

Also, there’s less chance of getting drunkenly married by an Elvis impersonator at 2.00am and you get to not find yourself completely lost in an American king sized bed.

I always complain to Mrs B that pubs have the most uncomfortable outdoor metal-backed chairs to sit in, so I have to go to the bar and drink by myself, whilst watching wait staff take drinks to the gamblers.

My mate who owns a pub in Brisbane told me that he had just spent $465 a chair for his ‘VIP’ punters to sit on in comfort.

They were specially designed to keep them there in luxury, just at the right height – arm length – to reach the play button.

I asked what he spent per chair for us non-punters to sit on outside and he said the budget was around $20 a chair.

Everyone’s a winner

I remember that when I first came to Australia, how amazing it was that you were allowed to drink and punt on the gee-gees at the same time. Back home, we had fruit machines (one a pub was all that was allowed); you lot had card machines (and lots of them!).

If we wanted to place a bet on a horse race in England, we would have to go into a local bookmakers to do it and by law they had no chairs and no drinks of any kind allowed.

This was designed so that you would not spend the whole day gambling but, come to Australia and it was the complete opposite – you were encouraged to drink and gamble!

The other outstanding feature of an Australian pub, which I found amazing, was the drive-through bottleshop. You could get drunk, gamble away your wages and then drive through the bottle shop to buy more booze for the journey home!

Same game, different suits

We always thought of ourselves as more sophisticated than the average pokie player, as we were brokers and our flashing lights were called trading terminals and you had to press two buttons to place a bet, not one.

However, it’s all the same now or in fact it’s worse for an ASX punter, because they can now freeze up your capital by suspending your favourite horse stock.

If you take a look at all of the holders of AVZ (ASX:AVZ) shares, there is a total of $2.75bn tied up in the suspended stock. That amount is just over what was put through and lost in NSW clubs last year.

If they come back on, I reckon they will be 20c and not 78c, which was their last trade. See how much more sophisticated you are playing the ASX? You only get to lose 75% of your capital and not 100%.

So, wearing a suit makes you seem much more sophisticated and I think that Sam Bankman-Fried now regrets not wearing one, when he indicated that he was interested in taking over Goldman Sachs.

He was only 29 at the time and worth US$15bn because of his crypto punts:

Picture: Twitter/Insider

However, the wild punting that got him up there, this week brought him back down to poker machine player only status when he managed to lose US$14bn in just 24hrs.

It would take 10 years for all of the pokie playing pub punters to lose what Sam did in a day.

What a legend!


The Secret Broker can be found on Twitter here @SecretBrokerAU or on email at [email protected].

Feel free to contact him with your best stock tips and ideas.