Aussie Millions.

More Aussies gambling has contributed to the continued strength of the Aussie Millions Poker Championship. (Image: wikipedia.org)

The Australian gambling economy has grown by 13 percent in the last year thanks, in part, to $12 billion being spent on what has become a favorite across the country, pokie machines.

According the 33rd annual Australian Gambling Statistics report, gambling spend topped $24 billion in Australia between 2015 and 2016, with pokies generating 50 percent of that total.

As well as pokie revenue continue to thrive, sports betting remained the fastest rising star.

After raking in $920 million during the most recent accounting period, sports betting revenue showed an increase of 13 percent in comparative terms, but pokie spending was the leading driver behind an economy that continues to prove that it loves to gamble.

Sports Betting on the Rise but Pokies Still Dominate

However, despite the ongoing growth of sports betting, pokies still lead the way by a significant margin.

The betting machines have long been a subject of political debates and that latest figures aren’t likely to quell the calls to have them banned. Commenting on the report, Alliance for Gambling Reform spokesman Tim Costello said that pokie spending is the biggest contributor to Australia’s tragic status as a gambling nation.

“Politicians and regulators across Australia should be actively managing down annual losses to below $20 billion, not standing around doing little as they continue to grow faster than the broader economy,” Costello told the Sunday Morning Herald.

Alongside the financial figures, the Australian Gambling Research Centre also found that 6.8 million Australian’s now place up to ten bets per month.

The research has also shown that the average annual betting-spend-per-person was $883 and that lotteries are the most popular activity with 76 percent of gamblers choosing these games.

Poker Stays Strong in Light of Gambling Upswing

While it’s impossible to draw direct correlations without any hard evidence, there is a case that increased betting spend is also helping the Australian poker economy. Although specific statistics haven’t been published, the number of runners taking part in the Aussie Millions Main Event has remained fairly even over the last decade.

Despite major tours such as the World Poker Tour contracting following the US crackdown on online poker, the Aussie Millions has remained buoyant. Indeed, from the 780-entrant high in 2008, the number of runners has never dropped below 600.

In fact, at the start of 2017, Shurane Vijayaram managed to outlast 724 entrants to take home $1.6 million from the third largest Aussie Millions Main Event in history. Although there will be multiple reasons for the continued success of Australia’s leading poker event, it’s fair to say that the nation’s willingness to gamble certainly hasn’t hurt attendance figures.

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