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Why Australian Players are Betting Enthusiasts

Published on May 18, 2019, 6:11 pm

by Jeff Grant Twitter account Jeff Grant LinkedIn account

Gambling in Australia

It’s no secret that the Australian general public loves to gamble. That’s not to suggest that everyone is gambling addicted, but Aussies are willing to place some money down on just about anything.

Let’s list just a few of the more common ways Australians take a punt:

  • The lotto
  • Scratch it tickets
  • The pokies
  • Sports betting
  • Horse race betting
  • Casino gaming
  • Online poker tournaments
  • Offline poker tournaments

You name it, if we can place a bet on it, we probably will.

So why is it that we are so keen on chancing our money in this fashion? Are we all hoping to “get rich quick”, looking for the easy way to make some cash?

Overseas, some people view us as a nation with a major gambling problem, but I don’t think it’s a case of so many Australians being addicted to gambling. We just like having a flutter and hoping something good comes of it.

Some Statistics

Some statistics state that the average Australian spends close to $1200 per year placing money down on some form of gambling, whether it be the horses, lotto or the casino, among others. Of course, this is an average per Aussie adult. Not everyone gambles, so out of those who do it, the average would actually be considerably higher.

In comparison, stats show that American adults only average around $400 a year per person. Ireland is the country that comes in second behind Australia, with the average being $600 per year.

Aussies have a love affair with games like pokies, the lotto, scratch it tickets, and even casino gaming, but much of the money spent on wagering in this country is on some form of sports betting.

Horse racing makes up a large portion of our sports betting. Just wait until you see how much Australians wager on the Melbourne Cup 2019 horses when early November rolls around.

But it’s not just having a punt on the ponies. Sports’ betting is popular in cricket circles, rugby league, union, AFL, soccer and practically any other sport that accepts bets.

Something that plays a major role in our love for sports betting is the fact that we just love sport in general. Australians are known around the world for our love of the sport. We truly are the epitome of a sporting nation, and many of our national heroes have been sports stars, or heroes of the track such as Phar Lap or, more recently, Winx.

Australian horse Winx
Retired in 2019, the Austalian horse Winx has established a record of 33 consecutive winning races

Forms of Gambling preferred by Australian players

Here are a few interesting recent stats on how much Australians spend on various forms of betting per year overall:

  • Pokies come out a clear winner, with around $11 billion annually put through poker machines
  • Sports betting sees Aussies spending around $626 million per year
  • On lotteries, we hand over a whopping $1.9 billion every year, on average
  • Horse racing accounts for almost $3 billion waged annually

Those are some pretty serious figures for a country that has such a small population compared to so many other nations around the world.

History & Culture

Part of our love affair with gambling can be traced back to our history. Even in the early colonial days, there was a high rate of gambling in Australia. Part of that was due to harsh conditions, and gambling was a form of escapism.

For Australians, it’s never been all about trying to make money from gambling. It’s a form of entertainment. That’s why betting on sporting events and horse races are so popular in our culture. We love our sports, and having the ability to wager a variety of bets on our favourite sports just adds another element to the excitement and entertainment factor.

There are people in Australia who do suffer serious gambling problems no doubt, but for the majority, it simply comes back to that word “entertainment”. For us, minor forms of gambling are a pastime, just like going to see a show or a sporting event.

In conslusion

In some countries in the world, gambling is very much frowned upon, almost like it’s a disease. And it can be if serious addiction is involved.

For the majority of average Australians though, they are not gambling addicted and simply embrace it as yet another form of entertainment combined with the chance to win some cash, and this could be a reason why gambling is so rooted in this country.


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