Gambling in Australia

So, today’s Aussie Fact is all about gambling, and it’s more than one fact, it’s a number of different facts. And I actually learned something new too, when I was researching this for today’s Aussie facts. So, gambling in Australia.

So, the most popular forms of gambling in Australia include electronic gambling machines, also known as ‘poker machines’ or the slang term ‘pokies’, casino-based games such as poker and roulette and blackjack, lotteries, scratchies, which are scratch tickets, where you get those tickets that you will use your nail or a coin to scratch the surface of to reveal a number or a symbol, ‘scratchies’, and online betting, particularly for racing and sports.

In 2010, about 70% of all Australians gambled in one way or another. Whether it was your one-off punt at the Melbourne Cup, the horse racing cup once a year in Melbourne, or the habitual gambler at the local T.A.B. gambling on sports or racing as well. And ‘T.A.B.’ is used in Australia and New Zealand to stand for ‘Totalisator Agency Board’, T.A.B.. It’s a betting shop somewhere you go to bet on racing or sports.

Australia spent about $19 billion in 2008 to 2009 on gambling, $12 billion of which was pissed away on the pokie machines alone. That’s insane. That really shocked me.

Australia leads the developed world for gambling losses, something else that shocked me.

In 2014 the average Australian lost $1,279 dollars per adult gambler only just beaning Singapore who came in at $1,243, and way ahead of the U.S. at $705 who was in third position.

The average problem gambler in Australia loses $21 grand a year, $21K, $21,000 every single year, with about 115,000 Aussies considered ‘problem gamblers’. Another 280,000 Australians are considered ‘moderate risk gamblers’ who are on their way to becoming problem gamblers. And a sixth of pokie players are considered problem gamblers.

People aged 18 to 24 spend more on pokie machines than any other age group. Something else that shocked me as every time I’ve passed through one of those places with lots of poker machines, I tend to see a lot of elderly people in there. I don’t see many people who are 18 to 24. So, there you go.

And 90% of women who are deemed to be problem gamblers report that pokie machines were where their addiction began.

Despite Australia being ranked 50 third in terms of population in the world, it has one fifth of the world’s pokie machines, easily having more poker machines per head of capita than any other country in the world. And despite poker machines accounting for 60 to 65% of all gambling revenue, most Aussies don’t even play them. Nearly 75% of Aussies claim not to play a pokie machine in any given year, which is amazing considering that 75-80% of all problem gamblers use poker machines.

So, aside from all these negative things related to gambling, guys, as with many things in life, there’s always a tradeoff, there’s always two sides to the coin or two sides to every story, right? And while gambling is obviously very detrimental, potentially harmful, to problem gamblers, it’s also an industry that comes with many positives.

State tax revenue is between 4-13% of each state’s total revenue in Australia, which is funnelled into statewide services like schools and hospitals and infrastructure.

Online wagering and sports betting employs thousands of people and pays hundreds of millions in fees and taxes as well.

And in 2009, hotels, clubs, and casinos employed more than 150,000 Australians.

So, there you go, guys. Whether you like gambling or you hate gambling, there are some facts for you. I hope you find them interesting. And if you do like gambling, I hope that you do it responsibly and don’t piss away too much of your hard-earned savings.


ST – Something

SO – Someone

SW – Somewhere

alone – …only mentioning this thing; …not to mention other things
A lottery – a means of raising money by selling numbered tickets and giving prizes to the holders of numbers drawn at random
A negative – a bad or unpleasant aspect to ST
A positive – a good or pleasant aspect to ST
A punt – (in some gambling card games) bet or speculate on ST
A scratchy – a scratchcard, i.e. a small paper card for competitions where the symbols are hidden by a coating that needs to be scratched off to reveal if you’ve won anything
A tradeoff – a balance achieved between two desirable but incompatible features; a compromise
An addiction – the fact or condition of being addicted to a particular substance or activity.
As with many things in life – just like with many aspects of life
Aside from ST – apart from ST
Bet on ST – stake money on ST
Casino-based game – a game that is based on games found at casinos
Deemed (to be ST) – considered (to be ST)
Detrimental – tending to cause harm; harmful
Elderly people – people of an old age
Funnel ST into ST – channel ST into ST; cause ST to flow into ST
Gambling – the activity of playing games of chance for money; betting money
Gambling revenue – money earned from gambling
Habitual – done constantly or as a habit
Hard-earned savings – the money you have worked hard to earn and save up
Harmful – causing or likely to cause harm
In any given year – in any specific year
In one way or another – somehow; in some fashion
Infrastructure – the basic physical and organisational structures and facilities (e.g. buildings, roads, power supplies) needed for the operation of a society or enterprise
One-off – occurring on time only
Online wagering – betting money online
Per head of capita – per person; for every person
Piss ST away (on ST) – waste ST (on ST), e.g. money or resources
Potentially – with the capacity to develop or happen in the future
Ranked – given a place or rank within a grading system
Responsibly – in a sensible or trustworthy manner
Roulette – a gambling game in which a ball is dropped on to a revolving wheel with numbered compartments, the players betting on the number at which the ball comes to rest.
Stand for ST – (for capital letters) to represent the name of ST, e.g. NSW stands for New South Wales
Statewide – all across a state
Tend (to do ST) – usually (do ST)
The developed world – the part of the world comprising countries with lots of industrial activity and where people generally have high incomes
The Melbourne Cup – Australia’s most prestigious annual Thoroughbred horse race. It is a 3,200 metre race for three-year-olds and over, conducted by the Victoria Racing Club on the
Two sides to every story – used to refer to the fact that stories generally have different interpretations or ‘sides’
Two sides to the coin – used to refer to the fact that there are two sides to most arguments