New national data published by the Queensland government shows that total net gambling losses in Australia rose 7.7 per cent to $22.73 billion in the 12 months to the end of June last year, driven by massive growth in online sports betting and casino gaming. The figures consolidate Australia’s ranking as one of the biggest gambling nations in the world.
While half of the amount was on poker machines, there was also a 30 per cent increase from sports betting.
One expert has attributed the growth to advertising campaigns and the advent of smart phones. Dr Charles Livingston, a gambling researcher at Monash University’s School of Public Health and Preventative Medicine, said the rate of growth from sports betting had doubled from the previous few years.
“The massive growth in sports betting is unrivalled, I think, in the history of Australian gambling.”
And while sports betting is one of the smaller portions of the gambling market, with $814 million lost, he predicted it would only get bigger.
“I think this latest surge of growth is really directly attributable to the massive marketing and advertising campaigns that the online bookies have been engaging in in the last few years,” Dr Livingston said. “Which has been fuelled by the takeover of local bookies by international operators from the UK and Europe. And certainly the advent of smart phones and their big take up amongst young people has fuelled this growth.”
The latest Australian gambling statistics are complied by the Queensland Treasury on behalf of all other Australian jurisdictions.
They have shown pokies to be the single biggest source of gambling losses, at nearly $12 billion.
Loses to racing stands at almost $3 billion, with Lotto just under $2 billion.
New South Wales is the country’s biggest consumer market for gambling, with average losses per head of population rising more than $100 to $1517.
Victoria was the second-highest gambling state with per capita losses rising by around $85 to $1250, although gamblers burnt cash at a slower rate than their NSW counterparts.
Evaluating the depth of the gambling problem in each state is complicated, given many online sports betting providers are based in the Northern Territory where most bets are received from gamblers in other states.
Beneficiaries include the ASX-listed gaming and casino operators and the various state governments.
Crown Resorts $406.2M
Woolworths $100 – 200M
Tatts Ltd $233.8M
Star Entertainment Group $172M
Paddy Power $118M
William Hill Australia $26M
Tax revenue flowing to state governments from poker machines and lotteries were:
NSW $1.9 billion
Victoria $1.56 billion
Qld $1.07 billion
SA $285 million
WA $393 million
TAS $80 million
ACT $50 million
NT $58 million