Australia is far and away the most lucrative gambling market on the planet, a recent study by The Economist proved yet again. Australians lose a total of $18.3bn, ranking the country third behind USA ($116.9bn) and Italy ($19bn). However, having only a third of Italy’s population, Australians lose $990 per capita per year and are by far number one in the “per person” category.
This is almost 40% more than the runner-up Singapore, and more than double than any other Western developed country.
Gaming machines, popular pokies, account for almost half of all the losses, land-based casinos account for around 20%, and around 15% of losses are incurred online. It seems Aussies are the worst sports punters in the world with $1.6bn lost every year. No other nation comes even close.
The most popular form of gaming in Australia is on ubiquitous electronic poker machines, or “pokies”, which are more prevalent there than anywhere else. Although the devices are legal in many other markets, bet sizes are usually capped at modest levels. By contrast, in Australia, which began to deregulate the industry in the 1980s, punters can lose as much as $1,150 an hour.
One of the key aspects that make Australia such a lucrative market for the operators is that most Australians find gambling a harmless pastime as well as a social activity and most don’t expect to make a profit. Combined with a large reservoir of disposable income, this makes Australians perfect gambling customers, as we’ve explained in our article.
Recent developments point towards a government ban on online gambling in Australia for offshore operators, in an obvious effort to keep most of the money lost on the continent, but this will hardly change the landscape of gambling in Australia.
There will be no offshore brands available online and all the online traffic will go to Australian brands, but Aussies are expected to gamble the same as they did before. And to lose the same.