Pokies Australia

In a recent report, the top 20 percent of Aussie gamblers spent 87 percent of total betting expenditure, with pokies bagging the most. (Image: Courier-Mail)

In news that will probably not surprise anyone who’s pitched up at a local TAB to enjoy a few spins on the latest Aristocrat game, a report has suggested that most of Australia’s gambling bucks is spent on pokies.

According to the report, published by leading Aussie research firm, Roy Morgan, the top 20 percent of Australian gamblers spend some 87 percent of all dollars wagered Down Under from April 2013 to March 2014.

Serious Gamblers Are the Top 20 Percent

The Roy Morgan Gambling Monitor findings show that Australians spent $16.3 billion in the last year. While 40 percent of gamblers in Oz are what Roy Morgan call “medium gamblers”, they contribute just 11 percent of money wagered, showing just how fervent a gambling nation Australia has become.

Exploring a more detailed breakdown of gambling expenditure in Australia, casino table games like blackjack and roulette took up 4 percent – $0.6 billion – of expenditure, with sports betting a little higher at 5 percent, or $0.9 billion, and racing betting 15 percent,  or $2.5 billion.

However, by far the largest chunk of gambling is taken up by pokies, where a staggering $9.8 billion – 60 percent of all gambling money spent in Australia annually – is bet on the ever-present poker machines.

Jane Ianniello, International Director of Tourism, Travel & Leisure for Roy Morgan, said: “The fact that the bulk of Australia’s gambling revenue is generated from just 20 percent of gamblers illustrates that although heavy and even problem gamblers certainly exist, most Australians are not big spenders when it comes to gambling.

“Light gamblers tend to be those who buy lottery tickets (81 percent) and an occasional scratch ticket (26 percent) in an average three-month period, but rarely partake in other types of gambling. By contrast, heavy gamblers participate in many types of gambling, especially poker machines (80 percent), lottery tickets (69 percent), and betting (40 percent).”

Report publishers Roy Morgan Research is the largest independent research company in Australia, with over 70 years of experience collecting independent information on consumers.

An Aussie Love Affair With Pokies

Poker machines, or pokies, are ever-present in Australia, and can be found in casinos, pubs and clubs across the country. The latest video pokies give gamblers in Australia the chance to bet even quicker than before and have the chance to win even bigger jackpots by utilising cutting-edge video technology and often carry progressive jackpots. Australians do not have to pay tax on pokies winnings.

The majority of the pokies in Australia can be found in just three states: Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales. A recent estimate put it at over 200,000 pokies in the whole country.

The report figures should be no surprise to anyone who follows gambling in Australia. According to a 2011 report by The Economist, Aussie gamblers lost almost $1,300 per capita compared to just $400 per capita in the United Kingdom. However, there are some signs that Singapore may have just taken Australia’s crown as the world’s biggest gamblers –  including all the ancillary match-fixing scandals.

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