Australian gambling pokie machines

Australian gambling again tops the world polls, with pokie machines accounting for much of the betting. (Image: AFP)

Australian gambling losses have put the country at the top, or should that be bottom, of the world league for betting.

According to the latest global report, Aussies bets $1,600 per capita each year, putting them back in front of Singapore (at $1,472 per capita) who overtook Australia in 2014.

The report, compiled by UK firm, HS Gambling Capital, puts the US third on $801 per gambler and Finland on $797.

Kiwis were around the same figure, meaning New Zealand bet almost half as much as Aussies on average over the past year.

And according to the Roy Morgan Gambling Monitor, published around the same time, Australians were estimated to have spent $16 billion over the previous 12 months. The majority of wagers were made on pokies and other electronic machines.

Australia Retakes Top Spot in Betting League

A June 2014 report by Global Betting and Gaming Consultants suggested that Singapore had knocked the Aussies off their perch, with Singaporeans notching up average yearly bets totaling around $1,800. It was no surprise, perhaps, seeing as Singapore generates around $6 billion in gambling revenue a year through its two big legal complexes, Marina Bay Sands and Genting Resorts World Sentosa.

Speaking on The New Daily website, the University of Adelaide’s Professor Paul Delfabbro said:

“We have one of the highest per capita rates of gaming machines and also have machines which can take a lot of money much more quickly than is the case for overseas models.

“There will be an increasing temptation to [introduce more machines] as budget deficits continue to grow.”

Fewer Aussies Betting But Bets Grow

What seems to be happening, however, is that fewer Australians are betting, but the ones who are are betting more.

The Roy Morgan report last year suggested that big spenders accounted for a lot of the gaming activity, with 87 percent of gambling done by the top 20 percent of gamblers.

A similar H2 report, published in January, showed that a new, younger generation of gamblers were taking to their mobiles and desktops in search of a wager. At the end of 2013, H2 predicted that worldwide gambling on mobile devices will account for almost half of all interactive gambling by 2019.

There were warnings from the Salvation Army and responsible gambling groups as the latest report was published.

“They’re [problem gamblers in Australia] not only remaining hooked on gambling, but what we find is that those people who develop an addiction to gambling normally end up addicted to other things such as alcohol and other drugs,” said the Salvation Army’s Clinical Director of Recovery Services, Gerard Byrne.

However, with various Aussie states looking to balance the books in 2015, don’t expect to see the number of pokies up and down the country come down any time soon.

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