40+ Australia Gambling Statistics for 2021

Australia gambling statistics

Australia is widely regarded as a gambler’s paradise. The origins of this national obsession may be a mystery of history, but the fact remains that Aussies love taking on the odds, be it at the pokies, the race track, or the oval.

But exactly how much do Aussies win or lose per year? What are their favourite games and how often do they bet? And how do they really stack up to other gambling nations? 

To get to the bottom of this, we’ve put together the latest Australia gambling statistics illustrating the country’s recent gambling trends.

Feeling lucky? Let’s roll the dice!

10 Winning Facts About Gambling in Australia

  • Half of the Australian population gambles on a regular basis
  • During the pandemic, the proportion of online gamblers rose to 78%
  • The average Aussie gambles away about $1,260 every year
  • The majority of regular gamblers are men
  • Australia has close to 200,000 gaming machines – that’s one per 100 adults!
  • More than half a million Australians bet on sports in 2018-19
  • 1.8 million Australians placed some kind of bet per yearly quarter in 2018-19
  • In 2017-18, 8.6 million lotto and scratch tickets were sold
  • The total gambling turnover in 2018-19 was $225 billion
  • Sportsbet is considered the best and most used online betting site in Australia

General Gambling Statistics in Australia

1. Half of the population gambles on a regular basis.

(Roy Morgan)

The latest figures tally 9.9 million regular gamblers in Australia. In other words, 50% of Australians gamble in some way in an average yearly quarter. This makes Australia one of the leading gambling countries in the world.

2. The average Aussie loses $1,260 to gambling per year.

(Savings) 

Reports indicate that in 2017-18 the country’s total gambling losses amounted to $24.88 billion. This means that the average Australian lost $1,260 on gambling. Talk about a bad trot!

Breaking down that number tells a familiar story: Australians lost a total of $20 billion on the pokies in 2017-18 or $1,017 per person. Racing losses topped $3.5 billion, and a further $1.2 billion was lost on sports betting in Australia.

3. Lotteries, scratch tickets, and electronic gaming machines are the most popular gambling games in Australia.

(Roy Morgan)

Recent data indicates 8.4 million or 42.6% of all Australians played the lottery or chose instant scratch tickets, while about 12% or 2.4 million played poker machines in an average yearly quarter in 2020. Sports betting was the third most popular form of gambling in Australia, with 2.1 million participants or 10.4% of the population.

4. In 2019, Australians spent $1,276 per person on gambling, a modest decline from the previous year.

(Queensland Government Statistician’s Office) 

In both 2018 and 2019, the most money was spent on the popular gaming machines: $1,048 per person in 2019 and $1,043 the year before. In addition, the average Australian also spent $179 on racing, down from $184 in 2018. Sports betting attracted the least amount of money, a sum of $49 per person in 2019 and $64 in 2018.

5. In 2020, the gross value added (GVA) of tourist-related gambling activities was more than half a billion. 

(Statista)

Gambling also seems to be popular among those who come to visit Australia. In 2020, the total value added (GVA) for casinos and other gaming facilities related to tourism was $590 million.

Gamblers in Australia

6. 16% of Australians begin gambling before they turn 18.

(AIFS)

The legal gambling age in Australia is 18 years, but in recent years gambling has increasingly been reported among teenagers. Stats show that one in five of those struggling with gambling addiction started gambling before the age of 18. What’s more, as much as 16% of youths aged 16 and 17 engaged in some kind of gambling over the past 12 months. Among those under the legal age, 20% of boys and 12.5% of girls spent money on gambling activities.

7. Gambling in Australia is most popular among adults aged 50 and over. 

(Roy Morgan)

According to a 2018 report, gambling is the least appealing to young people aged 18-24, with “only” 27.5% of the young adult population in Australia engaged. The next age group, adults aged 25-34, also gambled at a lower-than-average rate of 37.5%. 

However, the older generation is still at it: more than 60% of adults aged 50-64 engaged in gambling activities, and the rate in the 65+ age group was similar at 57.8%.

8. Men are the majority of regular gamblers in Australia.

(AIFS)

The latest available data on gambling by gender indicates that 54.2% of regular gamblers are male, while 45.8% are female. Seeing as women make up 51% of Australian adults, it may be said that women participate less frequently in gambling. This is borne out by more detailed findings:

  • Males in Australia (52.8%) played the lottery more than females (47.2%). 
  • Gambling in sport had the highest proportion of male bettors and the lowest proportion of women betting in Australia. Men bet on sports at a rate of 88%, as opposed to just 12% of women. 
  • Furthermore, more than 80% of those who gambled on racing were men, while women participated at a rate of 19.1%

9. Almost half of Australians working full-time jobs are regular gamblers.

(AIFS)

  • In comparison, 16% of part-time workers are routine gamblers. 
  • In terms of household income, 19.8% of Australians earning less than $29,500 make up 19.3% of regular gamblers – meaning nearly all gamble regularly.
  • Australians in the $54,000-$73,499 income bracket make up 20.2% of the population and 20.8% of routine gamblers. 
  • Similarly, Australians with incomes above $73,500 account for 20.2% of the population and 20.3% of regular gamblers. 

10. More than half a million Australian adults bet on sports in 2018-19.

(Roy Morgan)

According to current research on sports betting in Australia, over 620,000 adults bet on sports. Most sports bettors were males between the ages of 35-49 (4.9%).

Interestingly, sports betting outstrips race betting only in the youngest age demographic (18-24 years). Older age groups (65+) are far more interested in racing bets, their participation rate in sports betting hovering at a meagre 1%. 

The Gambling Industry in Australia

11. The country’s average annual gambling income is around $5 billion.

(Under Scoop Fire) 

Australia’s gambling industry is one of the most profitable in the world. The average income from gambling in Australia amounts to around $5 billion every year. Most of the casinos in the country are built so as to attract tourists, which contribute an average of $4,900 per visitor to the Australian gambling industry. In general, Australia’s gambling industry is very effectively developed, with plenty of room for further expansion.

12. There are more than 20 full-service casinos spread across all Australian states.

(World Casino Directory) 

An additional 14 casino hotels are also registered in the country. There are 7 licensed bingos and 4 lotteries. Sports betting is legal online, but about 3,000 physical shops exist, offering fixed odds and tote wagers. Australia has the most registered racecourses of any country, with a total of 350 tracks.

13. In 2018, Australia had close to 200,000 gaming machines.

(Statista) 

According to estimates, in 2018, Australia had 194,322 electronic gaming machines (EGMs), housed in 2,991 hotel venues and around 1,800 clubs.

Seeing as the adult population in 2018 was about 19 million, that works out to one pokie per 100 adults. Crikey!

14. The Australian gambling industry spent $270+ million on advertising in 2018.

(Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation) 

The gambling industry in Australia invested $273.2 million in ads and promos in 2018, a considerable increase from 2011 when the industry spent a modest $89.7 million.

15. There is no single authority presiding over gambling laws in Australia.

(ACMA) (AIFS)

In Australian law, online gambling is regulated by the Interactive Gambling Act of 2001, which forbids online casinos, in-game sports betting, un-licensed sports betting platforms, and betting on a lottery result. The bill was updated in 2017 in order to address foreign companies that provide unregulated gambling activities to Australians over the Internet. 

Sports Betting and Horse Racing

16. 1.8 million Australians placed a bet per yearly quarter in 2018-19. 

(Roy Morgan) 

In an average three-month period in 2018-19, 1.8 million Australians over the age of 18 placed some kind of bet. Of those, 1.2 million bet on horse racing. Race betting remains prevalent among older age groups, especially those over 50.

17. In 2017, racing accounted for 75% of the Australian betting market.

(Roy Morgan) 

While sports betting is gaining prominence in Australia, an overview of the overall betting numbers reveals that horse racing, greyhound racing, and harness racing accounted for 75% of the Australian betting market in 2017. Horse racing made up 50.9% of the betting industry, greyhound racing 12.5% and harness racing 11.4% of the total betting market.

18. In 2017, sports betting accounted for 25% of all money bet by Australians.

(Roy Morgan)

Speaking of sports, Australians mostly bet on football, with the two dominant football codes accounting for half of all sports bets:

  • Australians put 7.6% of their betting money on NRL/State of Origin or the Australian rugby league. 
  • The Australian Football League received 6.8% of all wagers bet in 2017. 

Betting on other sports like tennis, cricket, basketball, swimming, netball, and cycling accounted for a combined 10.7% of the total Australian betting market. 

19. Australians bet $21 billion on racing in 2019-20. 

(Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation) 

In 2019-20, the annual turnover from horse race wagers was $21 billion, an increase of $143 million or 0.7% from the previous year.

The total turnover from sports betting for the same period was around $10 billion, a significant decrease of 2.2 billion or 18% compared to the previous year.

Online Gambling in Australia

20. Sportsbet is considered the best betting website in Australia. 

(Statista) (Kruzey) (Statista) 

In 2019, Australians chose Sportsbet, an Irish-owned website, as the best site for placing online bets. Nearly 45% of online gamblers said they placed a bet on the site in the past 12 months. Other well-known betting sites in Australia include Neds, Ladbrokes, Bet 365, Bookmaker, Betfair, Unibet, and Betstar.

It is worth mentioning that 17.4% of gamblers used the popular Tabcorp Holdings services for online betting in 2018. 

Poker Machines and Gaming

21. The highest win on a pub pokie is $10,000, but the odds of winning are higher still.

(Australian Ethical) (Online pokies)

Believe it or not, Australia has 18% of all gaming machines in the world. The machines have an average payout rate of about 90%, meaning there is no way to beat the odds in the long run. But the large winnable sums still exert a strong draw on the players. Poker machines are designed to be addictive, and poker machine addiction in Australia is extremely common.

22. Sydney has the majority of casinos, but Victoria has the most gaming locations.

(World Casino Directory)

Victoria has the most gambling locations, with 18 casinos and parimutuel venues registered across 12 state cities. Five of these are in the capital of Melbourne. 

NSW is second in terms of the number of casinos, with 13 gambling facilities scattered across three state cities. The majority of casinos, ten in all, are in Sydney.

Queensland is third on the list, with 12 casinos spread across six cities. As one would expect, the majority of them (6) are in Queensland’s capital, Brisbane.

23. The Star Casino in Sydney and Crown Casino in Melbourne are among the most iconic Australian gambling venues to visit. 

(Mapping Megan) 

  • The Crown Casino and Entertainment Complex in Melbourne is the biggest venue of its kind in Victoria, attracting 10.9 million visitors a year.
  • The Treasury Casino & Hotel in Brisbane has over 1,300 poker machines.
  • Jupiter’s Hotel and Casino in Queensland attracts over 10 million visitors a year.
  • Wrest Point Casino in Tasmania is Australia’s longest-running casino, opened in 1973.
  • Crown Perth Casino is a 24-hour venue in Western Australia.
  • Other prominent casinos include Adelaide Casino, Casino Canberra, Country Club Casino, and Sky City Darwin.

24. The popularity of pokies has plummeted in the last two decades.

(Roy Morgan) 

Even as gambling expenditure rises year or year, participation in betting has been in a slow decline for a while. This is best exemplified by pokies, something of a national pastime in Oz. Over the last 18 years, the number of Australians who play poker machines has declined by 50%, from 4.8 million to 2.4 million. 

The trend is not evenly observed across state and territory lines. For example, 23.6% of Northern Territory residents played the pokies in 2019, while only 5% of those living in Western Australia, where the use of pokies outside of casinos is illegal, did the same. Both are far from the national average of 12.6%, as reported in a 2020 Roy Morgan survey.

25. Some 8.4 million lotto and scratch tickets were sold in Australia in 2017-18. 

(Roy Morgan) 

In three years running up to 2018, the number of Australians who purchased a lottery or scratch ticket held steady at 8.6 million. This number is now down to 8.4 million, which still means 42% of adult Australians bought some kind of gambling ticket.

Lotto statistics up to June 2018 reveal that 7.7 million Australians bought a lottery ticket of some kind, such as Monday/Wednesday/Saturday Lotto, Powerball, Oz Lotto, or other lottery tickets, down from the 7.9 million sold in previous years. Scratchie sales also dropped to 3 million from 3.2 million in 2015.

26. In 2018-19, the total turnover from keno was upwards of $1.3 billion.

(Queensland Government Statistician’s Office)

Keno is beloved in Australia, so much so that the nation lost more than $350 million playing it in 2018-19. NSW residents lost the most money, around $150 million, while Queenslanders also spent more than $100 million. 

Social Problems and Cost of Gambling 

27. Four in five surveyed gamblers are at risk of or experiencing gambling-related harm.

(AIFS)

Is gambling a problem in Australia? Gambling participation, gambling frequency, and figures on gambling losses suggest it is. According to recent gambling addiction statistics in Australia, 79% of surveyed subjects said they were at risk of or had already seen some gambling-related harm in 2020. Out of all responders, 19% were low-risk gamblers, 31% were moderate risk, and 30% were problem gamblers. 

28. Problematic gambling has a significant impact on family members and family relationships in Australia.

(AIFS)

Problem gambling, like any other addiction, carries a real social cost. Gamblers’ family members overwhelmingly reported impaired relationships (96%) as well as stress and emotional difficulties (98%).

According to a survey-based study, the family member who most often had an issue with a gambler was their partner (66%) and, in the majority of the cases, a woman (89%). The average age of the family member was 36, and 59% of those who sought help were under the age of 35. In addition, gambling frequently causes family problems for parents, siblings, children, and friends.

29.  1% of the Australian population have a severe gambling problem. 

(The Cabin Sydney) (Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation) (Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation) (Australian Family Physician) (Finder)

In addition, moderate gambling problems affect about 2% of Australian adults. The emotional and mental state of the gambler is also related to the development of gambling addiction. In fact, problem gambling correlates deeply with mental health disorders. Some 400 Australians commit suicide as a result of gambling addictions every year. That’s one Australian life lost to gambling every single day.

30. Victoria suffered $7.6 billion in social costs from gambling in a single year.

(Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation) (AIFS)

A recent study, which refers to 2014-15, estimates the full social costs of gambling-related harm and family troubles for the state of Victoria at $2.2 billion. Furthermore, financial losses and bankruptcy cost $1.3 billion, while government support services cost $1.1 billion. Significantly, $4.3 billion in costs were attributed to low- and moderate-risk gambling.

In 2019, the state of Victoria reported that 39% of its problem gambling population suffered some mental illness, while 41% were diagnosed with depression. The analysis put the social cost of psychological issues to the state at $1.6 billion. 

31. In 2019, 45% of Australian online bettors reported losing funds due to gambling.

(Statista) 

Speaking of gambling-related harm, it’s important to remember that online betting in Australia has had a significant impact. As many as 45% of Australian online gamblers reported a decrease in either spending money or their savings as a result of online betting. Another 18% regretted doing it, while more than 30% said gambling made them feel embarrassed, distressed, or “like a failure”.

32. The phrase “gamble responsibly” has no impact, the majority of Australians feel.

(YouGov) 

In fact, 70% of Australians believe the use of the slogan does nothing to reduce the negative effects of problem gambling in the country. One in five thinks that the slogan has some influence, while only 3% believe that it’s effective.

33. Online and telephone counselling for gambling problems is available 24/7.

(Gambling Help Online) (Liquor and gaming NSW) (AIFS)

Australia has a variety of social programs which offer gamblers help and support. There is free online counselling, live chat and online advice for anyone with a personal gambling problem or family members and friends of problematic gamblers. Online counselling is available at all times, 7 days a week. Those in need of professional support and care can reach the Gambling Helpline NSW, a national helpline for gamblers and gambling addiction, at 1800 858 858 at any time.  

Revenue and Gambling Expenditure 

34. The Australian government receives annual gambling revenues of around $6 billion.

(Statista) 

The total contribution of gambling to the national budget of Australia has grown over the last decade. In the financial year 2018, the total gambling revenue in Australia was $6.2 billion, up from $5.9 billion the year before. 

35. Total gambling turnover in 2018-19 exceeded $225 billion.

(Queensland Government Statistician’s Office)

In 2018-19, race betting alone generated nearly $27 billion, equaling the total turnover of casinos across the land. Sports betting created $11 billion in turnover, while gaming machines recorded a whopping $153 billion turnover.

All this means that the average Australian contributed about $11,500 to the country’s yearly gambling turnover.

36. Тotal casino expenditure in 2018-19 was $4.8 billion.

(Queensland Government Statistician’s Office) 

The available facts about gambling indicate that the gaming category accounts for the largest gambling spending in Australia at around $20 billion. In this time frame, total casino spending was $4.8 billion, while the gaming machine expenditure was $12.7 billion.

When it comes to race betting, one of Australia’s favourite gambling practices, the total spending in 2018-19 was $3.5 billion. In comparison, sports betting boasts a comparatively minuscule spending figure of $0.9 billion.

37. New South Wales had the biggest annual gambling turnover in 2018.

(Statista) 

Totalling nearly $93 billion, NSW’s gambling turnover was the highest in Australia in 2018. In comparison, Victoria had a gambling turnover of $48.8 billion, while Queensland’s turnover reached $37.5 billion in the same year.

Australian Gamblers Compared to Other Populations

38. Australia leads the pack of gambling nations, with Singapore, China, the USA, UK, Canada, and Ireland all in the gambling top ten.

(Flavourmag) (Film Daily) 

Australia is consistently ranked in the top ten gambling countries worldwide. It has rightly been branded the gambler’s paradise: there is no gambling tax in Australia and many are willing to spend large sums to win big.

Singapore, Ireland, the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and China all round out the top ten gambling countries. To illustrate, 76% of Canadians say they love gambling, 32% of the population in the United Kingdom gambles on a weekly basis, online casinos are a growing trend in Ireland, and a little-known desert town by the name of Las Vegas remains the gambling capital of the world.

39. In 2017, Australia ranked first in the world in terms of gambling losses per capita.

(Savings) 

In terms of gambling losses per capita, Australia tops the global list, and by quite a margin! In 2017, the annual gambling loss per person was $958, the runner-up Hong Kong recorded losses of $768 per person, while Singapore came in third with $725. The United States of America was ranked ninth, with a per capita loss of $421 and the United Kingdom, with $346 lost on gambling per person, fell to 13th place in the ranking.

Gambling Trends and the Effects of Covid-19

40. The COVID-19 pandemic upended land-based gambling in Australia.

(AIFS)

Australian land-based gambling venues shut down in March 2020. Sports betting in Australia was also restricted due to the cancellation of most sporting competitions. As a result, participation in some forms of gambling in Australia declined, most notably pokies, keno and scratch tickets.

However, reports show that people actually gambled more during the pandemic, with online gaming getting a big boost.

41. Top 5 online casinos saw 37% more visitors in 2021.

(Cision PR Newswire)

According to online gambling statistics, the COVID-19 pandemic turned gamblers from land-based to online casinos to an astonishing degree. Namely, the top 5 online casinos received three times the number of Australian visitors in April 2020 than they did in March 2020. 

Although gaming establishments reopened in 2021, Australian online casino and poker sites continue to engage a growing number of users.

  • The 5 leading sites offering casino and poker games for Australians are Joe Fortune Pokies, Woo Casino, Aussie play, Ignition and NicPokies. 
  • Ignition was the most visited site during both years, with 422,000 visitors in March 2020 and 483.00 visitors in March 2021. Visits to the site peaked in May 2020 with 1.1 million Australian users.

42. The number of high-frequency gamblers increased during the pandemic.

(Statista) 

While some eased off their gambling habits during the pandemic, other Australians punted more. Notably, there was a rise in the number of those who gambled four or more days a week during the lockdowns: 32% of responders did so, up from 23% prior to the pandemic.

For those who bet less, the gambling trends have mostly held steady during the pandemic. 32% of responders gambled 2-3 days a week during the pandemic, compared to 34% previously, and the number of those who gamble 1-2 times a month decreased from 12% to 10%. 

43. During the pandemic, 78% of all Australian gambling took place online.

(AIFS)

The popularity of online gambling spiked during the shutdowns, as one in three Australians signed up for one or more new online accounts. Before the pandemic, 62% of those who gambled did so online, but the figure increased to 78% in the corona era.

At the same time, there was a significant drop in land-based gambling in Australia. The average gambling on pokies in clubs and bars fell from 23% to 8%, while casino gambling dropped from 4% to 1%.

Bottom line

These Australia gambling statistics illustrate the continent’s standing as one of the world’s leading gambling regions. As the gambling industry continues to grow at a rapid pace, the government must continue to take any necessary steps to ensure that problem gambling does not get out of hand. We can only hope that the phrase “gamble responsibly” gains some meaning before too long.

Sources:

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