Gambling statistics in Australia

Australia is one of the most gambling countries in the world, in all terms. According to research, more than 80% of Australians participate in the games of chance or games of skill on a regular basis. Those wanting to gamble from Australia may wonder how is this possible, considering that local online casinos are generally not available to Aussies. However, you can find the best Aussie online casinos anyways, and make a killing there without breaking any laws.

Playing casino games is considered one of the most beloved types of entertainment in Australia, enjoyed by people of all ages, genders, and professions. To understand this phenomenon more, and reveal why Aussie find betting so beneficial for them, let’s dive into some numbers and look at gambling statistics Australia.

Gambling - Background

Australia has always been into games of chance, since the beginning of its modern history; the first gambling entertainments were brought to the continent by the Chinese immigrants, and soon all other colonists shared their passion for table games. Another passion was horse racing, and while it was more available for elite, the racing events quickly became hugely popular.

Official history of Aussie betting began in 1810 when the first horse racing event was launched. Gambling activities have never been totally forbidden, and by the 21st century, this country became one of the most advantageous ones for gamesmen.

Gambling Environment

Today, Aussies are believe to play casino games more, and lose more money on them, than anyone else in the whole world. This is explained by two main factors. The first factor is the high level of general wellbeing which enables people to afford playing at casinos. Ironically, this wellbeing is partially backed by huge taxes paid by the gambling industry. The second factor is an impressive number of land based casinos and entertainment centers all around the country. In other words, Australians have more opportunities than anyone in the world to gamble a lot, and are rich enough to afford themselves to gamble as much as they want.

Currently, around 6,800 clubs and pubs offer gaming activities; about 4700 lottery outlets are opened, and more than 10 big land based casinos operate in different cities (with even more to be built in the nearest future).

Due to such abundance of facilities, back in 1983 it was officially offered by the government to collect economic and social data connected to gaming od chance and of skill, to be officially analyzed and shared on a national basis, to gain insights into benefits and drawbacks of the current policies. Perhaps, if the government found out the country has more harm than benefit from this industry, the gaming market could have been shut down. However, despite huge spendings, this has not happened, because at the same time, the country received huge taxes. Some regions depend on taxes from the gaming industry more and more to improve their wellbeing.

According to the official report #34 issued in 2018, Australia has spend around $208 billion purely on gaming. Counting all citizens 18 years of age and older, this is around $11,000 per person. However, this money is not lost, because people bet real money and also win real money. If we consider the wins, annual losses constitute only $24 billion, while losses per person per year are only around $1,250. These numbers are more positive, if to think of it.

It should be noted that these average numbers do not reflect the situation for every particular gambler; there are people who loses more money and wins less. On the other hand, not all gamblers are created equal, they prefer different activities and make different bets.

The Most Popular Gambling Activities in Australia

If we check spendings per activity, the graph is as follows.
gambling statistics Australia
Image source:

As it is seen from the graph above, different sums are spend on different activities, and the biggest money is spent on casinos and gaming machines, followed by lotto and racing. Yet, the biggest love is given to “pokies” - or slots machines, as the rest of the world knows them.

Pokies, or Electronic Gaming Machines, are the most popular choice for gaming in Australia. They are offered at licensed venues, and also can be found at some the most unexpected places like coffee-shops. Australia is one of the most slots-playing nations globally, and holds the sixth place in the world by the number of gambling machines. More than 600,000 citizens play pokies at least every week.

But what about virtual casinos? This brings us to the online gambling statistics Australia.

Online Gambling Issues

The fact is that Australia does not permit local online casino operators. No company can offer their betting services to local players. Aussie gamblers who wants to play online have to look for overseas online platforms that accept Australians for real money gaming. On the other hand, overseas virtual platforms are not allowed to advertise their services to Australian gamblers. This is the reason why there is no official statistical data on virtual gaming.

Is Gaming Beneficial for Australia?

On the one hand, legalized gambling is always beneficial for the country in terms of taxes paid by the businesses. On the other hand, there is a phenomenon of problem gambling, and to deal with it, the government actually spends money from the taxes collected! According to the recent statistics only on the state of Victoria, the government spends around:

  • $2.2 billion – on dealing with family and relationship problems
  • $1.6 billion – on managing and preventing emotional and psychological issues, including distress, depression, suicide and violence
  • $1.1 billion – costs to the Victorian government, such as research, regulation, and professional support services
  • $600 million – to compensate lost productivity and other work-related costs of problems gamblers who plays at their work time

These are impressive sums that could have been spend on improvement of well-being of the state. Therefore, it makes sense to address the issue of problem gaming in more detail.

Problem Gambling

Being one of the biggest “gamblers” among the world countries, Australia also massively suffers from the consequences of problem gambling which include huge spendings on games of chance with losses, decreased working productivity, failed family relationships, increased level of depressions, suicidal trends, and also violence. Problem gambling statistics Australia shows that around 1.39 million adult Australians had one or more gambling caused problems at least once in their lives.

  • More than 62% of gamblers have made bets with their possessions like smartphone
  • About 25% of regular gamers lose more during the game than they initially intended
  • Around 10% of underage citizens played an automatic pokie machine at least once

Due to these numbers, Australia takes Responsible Gaming and Gaming Helplines very seriously. While official statistics connected to virtual gaming of chance cannot be collected, it is obvious that the use of Internet, especially on mobile devices, has drastically increased during the recent years, and more people reach out to their favourite games via PC or mobile devices. Perhaps the government will want to address this niche in the nearest future, and enforce additional regulations, to prevent even more harm, and provide safe gambling to the citizens.