Australia's love for gambling and sports betting is no secret, but our status as one of the leading countries in world for gambling spending was made official recently. Numbers show that Aussie gamblers spend $24.1 billion on gambling in the 12 month period through to September 2015 - an increase of 6% compared to the previous year.
If these numbers are broken down, it is estimated that Australians wager an average of $1,000 each per year each.
What is interesting is that participation rates seem to have dropped over the past 15 years, but those who are gambling are spending more. At the turn of the century, most states recorded that 80% of their adult population took part in some form of gambling or other at least once a year. By last year, that number had fallen to 64%.
"We've seen a drop in participation in gambling on a per-capita basis, but the expenditure on gambling hasn't dropped," noted Australian Gambling Research Centre manager Anna Thomas.
What Australians Gamble On
While the fastest growing area is online gambling, and online sports betting in particular, the facts remain as such that the biggest gambling spend in Australia comes through bets placed on poker machines. There are over 200,000 pokies Down Under - the highest number of machines per person after Italy.
A senior economist at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Craig James said: "It's just so accessible for Australians. People don't have to leave their homes. There are all sorts of things people can bet on. They can even bet on interest rates set by the Reserve Bank."
Pokie Boss Comments
According to Len Ainsworth, who created his billion dollar empire through the sale of poker machines, the growing numbers spent on gambling by Australians are a result of a natural level of growth.
"Over the last 62 years that I've been in the business each year, every year the amount of money that goes into gambling is directly related to the state of the economy," said the 91 year old. "If the economy goes up 5 per cent, you can bet the amount gambled will go up by that or even more."
"As they [Australians] get more money or shall we say funds that they can spend, they will spend the same proportion of gambling as they do on everything else," noted Ainsworth. "There's nothing surprising about those numbers going up 6 per cent because I reckon we've had at least that much inflation over the period."