According to the Australasian Gaming Council’s 2014/2015 gambling industries report, the average Australian adult spends $1,172.14 (AUD) on gambling each year. This makes Australia the gambling capital of the world.
For comparison, Ireland has the third-highest rate of gambling in the world, but each Irish person only spends about $600 a year on gambling. About $400 for each American. (Note that the figures for Ireland and the U.S. were from 2010, when the average Australian gambler spent almost $1,300 per year.)
Aussies who want to try their luck at gambling are most drawn
Video poker machines, which are called “pokies” in Australia, are called “electronic gaming machines” (EGMs) in the business world.
Gambling is a big public policy issue in Australia because it affects people’s health and well-being in a lot of different ways. Estimates show that Australians lost about $25 billion on legal gambling in 2018–19. This is the most money lost per person in the world (Letts 2018; QGSO 2021).
The social costs of GambleGuys Australia have been put at around $7 billion in Victoria alone. These costs include negative financial effects, emotional and psychological costs, effects on relationships and families, and lost productivity and effects on work (Browne et al. 2017). Gambling harms not only the people who do it but also their families, friends, and the community as a whole (Goodwin et al., 2017).
This page’s goals are:
learn more about how people in Australia gamble and how much they spend.
Explore how the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and related restrictions have changed the way people gamble, and explain how gambling affects health and well-being.
Lottery or chance games
Instant scratch tickets (8.5% and 6.3%), poker machines/pokies (7.4% and 8.1%), betting on horse or dog races (5.6% and 6.2%), and betting on sports (5.6%) are the most popular ways to gamble (3.3 percent and 4.6 percent ).
Between 2015 and 2018, the number of people who regularly bet on lotteries, scratch-off tickets, and poker machines went down. During the same time period, regular spending on some activities like horse or dog racing, sports betting, Keno, casino table games, private betting, and poker went up.
Gambling expenditure data
The Australian Gambling Statistics report is made every year and includes information about how much people spend on gambling (QGSO 2021). This report defines expenditure as the number of money gamblers loses after taking into account the money they win.
See the 36th edition of Australian gambling statistics for background information and more information on how to define gambling products, where gambling data comes from, what laws apply, and what notes are attached to certain tables and data items.
This shows how much people spend and lose on legal, regulated forms of gambling, such as:
Racing and sports betting, electronic games and poker machines, other games including poker, casino games, football pools, interactive games, and minor games. Racing and sports betting (including raffles, bingo, and the like).
This whole page’s worth of data on spending and losses are “actual expenditures,” by the way. This indicates that the effects of inflation have been taken into consideration in order to facilitate the comparison of data originating from a variety of years.
During COVID-19, people gambled and spent money
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic and related government restrictions, GambleGuys Australia’s options changed. Land-based gambling venues were closed for a while, and major national and international sports codes were put on hold (Jenkinson et al., 2020). There were population-wide and targeted surveys done in Australia to find out how people adapted to these changes in how they could gamble.
A little of this, a little of that
As with so many things in life, there is no clear answer to why Australia has the most gambling of any country. But when we combine what Professors Blaszczynski and Harvey have said, we get a more nuanced answer that we hope is still satisfying:
When you add thousands of fun, interesting gambling machines to a country that has been open to gambling for hundreds of years, well, what did people think will happen? Gambling rates skyrocketed.
From the point of view of the gambling business, it was a big win. The right product for the right market. And maybe that makes sense since the company that made the pokie and put them in clubs, hotels, and casinos all over Australia was an Australian company.
Australian National University Centre
The Australian National University Centre for Social Research and Methods polled groups of Australian adults that were representative of the whole country at three different times:
From April 2019 (when there were no COVID-19 regulations) to May 2020, the overall number of people who gambled experienced a significant decline (during the key period of restrictions). This was true across 11 distinct types of gambling (53 percent ). The number of individuals who gambled increased to 59 percent in November 2020 after restrictions were removed in several locations; nonetheless, the number of people who gambled did not return to the level it had been before the epidemic.
Prior to and throughout COVID-19, the majority of people gambled their money on horse racing, sports betting, greyhound racing, and the lottery. While the number of people betting on races, sports, and other events remained roughly the same, there was a statistically significant drop in the amount of money gambled on most land-based products. These include poker and electronic gambling machines, also known as “pokies,” and instant scratch tickets.
Keno casino table games
Even though venues were harder to get to, people gambled more during COVID-19. This was mostly due to more people betting on horse, greyhound, harness racing, sports, eSports, lotto, and casino table games.
Almost one-third of the people who took the COVID-19 survey opened a new online betting account, and one-fifth of them started gambling online. Young men aged 18–34 were most likely to open new online accounts, gamble more often, and spend more each month on gambling (from $687 to $1,075)