Aussie Punters Still The Biggest Gamblers

Latest Australian Gambling Statistics report gets plenty of media coverage

The Australian mainstream media are currently all over the latest Australian Gambling Statistics report released late last week, which showed that Aussie punters continue to be the biggest gamblers in the world, burning through almost A$24 billion in a year, more than half of which was fed into pokie machines at pubs and clubs across the country.

The Queensland government, which compiled the report, notes that pokies losses grew 4.2 percent nationally, roughly double the rate of national inflation to reach A$12 billion in 2015-16, but sports betting remained the fastest-growing form of gambling.

At A$23.6 billion pokies accounted for the largest share of losses, followed by land casinos (A$5.2 billion), racing (A$2.9 billion) and Lotto (A$1.9 billion).

Sports betting was up 13 percent year-on-year, significantly boosted by the growing popularity and availability of internet and app-based wagering.

However, the report points out that sports betting is still only responsible for a comparatively small share of Australia’s overall gambling losses at A$920 million.

The report flags New South Wales as offering the most poker machines of any Australian province; it also showed the biggest increase in pokie losses in 2015-16, a rise of 6.2 percent, topping A$6 billion, or almost half of the nation-wide total.

For the first time in a decade per capita losses for NSW punters exceeded A$1,000 over the reporting period…the highest in the world.

Despite rising overall gambling losses, the hotels industry said the rate of problem gambling is, in fact, declining.

Stephen Ferguson, chief executive of the Australian Hotels Association told local reporters that less than 1 percent of the Australian population was affected by problem gambling.

“The Productivity Commission noted in its 2010 report that the prevalence of problem gambling had declined,” he said, “and recent state and territory surveys have shown this trend to be continuing.”