Australians are known for being gambling aficionados and have been for centuries. We have indulged in betting since we can remember and have a very competitive nature which offers us the premises for being one of the best punters on the planet, but also put Australia in the world top gambling countries.
Aussies seem to like gambling more than most people and this fact is reflected in the development of the gambling industry in the country. And every game has a good story behind it, making it attractive and fun. But before we talk about the fun part, let’s see how Australia came to be one of the most gambling interested countries.
The first legal casino was opened in 1973 in Tasmania and had to campaign for years to receive its licence. But this was not actually the start of the gambling hobbies in Australia. As Europeans were heading to Australia to settle, they also brought with them all their traditions and pastime activities, including a passion for gambling. Therefore, most of the popular games in Europe, including blackjack and roulette, made their way in Australia even before the opening of the first casino on the continent.
Nowadays, there are different legislations for gambling in certain territories, as you can find lots of casinos spread all over the country. The legislation applies to both land-based and online gambling, taking part in shaping the gambling preferences of players in different states. Another factor which had a great deal of influence over the gambling landscape today was the players’ preferences, therefore in some areas, people prefer table games and in other, they spin the reel on pokies more.
Over the years, pokies and online pokies have become Aussies’ favourite games, as today this form of gambling is the most spread out across the country. Pokies can be found in hotels, bar or any other venues and we love them because they offer the perfect opportunity to play small wagers while enjoying the company of our friends. Even though anti-gambling politicians found pokies more contentious than other forms of gambling, they remain hugely popular among Aussies and can still be played in all sorts of venues across the country.
The rise of the internet brought with it the rise of online gambling, not only in Australia but all around the globe. Players now can wager their money on all sorts of games, which can also be found in land-based casinos. Pokies have joined this trend as well and we believe it developed a sector which was most affected by the ever-growing technology. The fact is, today online pokies remain the favourites in online gambling. The Australian government stepped in and released the IGA as a protection measure for the players. This changed things as penalties were applied for operators in an attempt to reduce the gambling habits. The truth is that around 80% of Australians are today involved in some sort of gambling actions.
The IGA helped online gambling boost even more, as it grew in popularity for both players and casinos. In addition, online gambling is an extremely diverse industry, offering all sorts of games, from virtual table games to online pokies, thus making it very popular among Aussies.
Australian gambling trends in 2018
Roy Morgan Research conducted a study over a period of 3 months in 2018 and revealed gambling behaviours and trends. The study showed that in 2018 Aussies gambles less compared to the previous year, with a drop of 1.5%. This study was conducted on the adult population and surveyed over 50.000 punters, with over 7.000 gamblers questioned in-depth. The conclusion is that most Aussies prefer Scratchies and Lottery, followed by the ones who prefer casino games, such as roulette or poker, and the last category is involved in betting.
Overall, the study concluded that 49.1% of the adult population in Australia is involved in one type of gambling or another over a 3 months period, the online gambling industry has been increased by the growth of mobile betting while the percentage of gamblers who prefer desktop devices to bet remains the same.
When it comes to online gambling, another study conducted by Roy Morgan Research revealed that online pokies are the top choice for Aussies, as 56.7% of the adults involved in gambling prefer them. Online pokies hold the biggest share of online gambling and we cannot deny the fact that they are fun and exciting and easy to play. Probably the most important reasons we prefer them instead of other online games.
The same company noted that over a period of 10 years, 2008-2018, the gambling population dropped from two thirds to a half. This behaviour has been observed on all the gambling categories, including lottery and scratchies, pokies, sports betting, casino table games and keno.
The 18-24 age category of adults gambles the least, followed by the 25-34 age segment. The highest participation in gambling has been shown in the 50-64 age category, followed in numbers by the 65 and over age category. All under 50 years categories have shown a decline when it comes to betting, but the 65 and over category showed a smaller decline.
Australian gambling trends in 2019
As studies show, the younger generations in Australia are slowly losing their interest in gambling. During the last 3 months, only 25% of people aged 25 to 35 mentioned having visited an online gambling website, according to a Roy Morgan Research study. In comparison, last year 50% of the same age category was constantly visiting an online gambling website.
This decrease is also related to the restrictions of advertisements in media implemented in Australia, diverting the young adult population to other kinds of entertainment. As the Australian market is large, the potential of attracting young gamblers is still there, many people thinking that gambling operators should focus on their competition to other operators.
As gambling operators are restricted from advertising, they are left with only Google ads and affiliation marketing to promote themselves. In addition, the Millennials have shown less interest as a generation in land-based casinos, therefore online casinos have the opportunity to tap into the online market even more.
Moreover, gambling requires a certain amount of spending power, which Millennials seem to have redirected elsewhere, as the individuals in this generation tend to focus more on those things they have more power on in terms of return of their investments. Compared with older generations, Millennials seem to have less interest in gambling of any sort, tending to choose the online games which require a certain level of skill and implication from their behalf. These facts turned Millennials to fantasy-inspired online pokies, poker and blackjack, the last to being played mostly in brick and mortar casinos or in tournaments.
Australians spend a huge 18 billion dollars on gambling every year and over 3 billion dollars on video games. Even though these two sums are far away from one another, they do say something about where the future on entertainment in Australia is going to be in a few years. In fact, only a small percentage of players can be held accounted for a total of 18 billion dollars spent on gambling every year, as Aussies spend around 1.000 dollars per person on gambling each year. The number wouldn’t just add up as only half of the adult population is still gambling in 2019. Even so, those 3 billion dollars spent on another entertainment industry by the target audience of online gambling is quite alarming from online gambling providers.
Future gambling trends predictions in Australia
In order for the population to gamble, it needs to have spending power. The gambling operators are thus directly depending on their customers spending power when they look to the future and this fact keeps them tied to the local economy than they would have liked to. The Australian economy has been quite stable over the years and we should expect for the online gambling customers to have the same spending power.
In reality, the facts are not quite as they seem. Even though Australia as a country has been having economic growth, this does not imply that its population is earning better. We can compare this phenomenon with the average salary made on the population of a country, as 9 of 10 people can earn an average salary and the 10th can be a millionaire. The numbers are not creating the reality in these cases.
The Australian economy has been growing with an average of 2.5% per year but the Australian dollar has been declining ever since 2014. In addition, the wages did not catch up with the country’s inflation and thus left most of the middle-class Aussies with less spending power. In this case, people started directing their money to the essential things, including food, rent and utilities, rather than spending on gambling.
There are several issues which affect the gambling industry in Australia today and one of them is the strict regulations which prevent online gambling operations. These operations can be done if an operator directs significant funds into acquiring a licence and this is not something any company can do. In parallel, alternative entertainment methods are being developed and they include video games inspired by gambling. Therefore, gambling is starting to appeal less and less to the younger generation.
For now, the operators rely on their loyal customers to stay afloat, but in long-term they can expect their profits to be substantially reduced in just one generation, not to speak about further predictions.
Another fact which has a large influence on the gambling industry is the spending power of the new generation. The declining of the Australian dollar and the slow economic growth actually means that the population’s income is not parallel with the inflation indicator. If things continue in this direction, even the older generations will have trouble with spending their money on gambling, as they will have to redirect their incomes towards their daily necessities.
The future of online gambling in Australia does not look good for gambling operators if the facts mentioned above do not change. Serious changes need to be made in terms of framework regulations to allow gambling operators to create marketing campaigns to recuperate their lost customers and to reach and attract others to the gambling industry. We believe that if the regulations do not change, the gambling operators which are currently functioning in Australia will have to shrink their operations or even move to another country. If this happens, even less money from taxes will end up in the country’s budget and people working in the gambling industry will have to be laid off, causing a chain reaction which will only force people to restrict their spending even more. Therefore, some measures need to take place in order to maintain one of Australia’s largest industries alive, but also under regulations which will protect players.