Statistics on Gambling in Australia

Article by Simon Day
the Australian Gambling Research Centre (AGRC)
Last Updated: Apr 2nd, 2024 Share On Your Network:

Are you interested in the latest figures on gambling in Australia? Within this article, we’ll be exploring the gambling statistics, providing the biggest talking points Down Under. We’ll explore how the market has shifted, particularly since 2020.

The COVID-19 pandemic had a profound impact on the gambling habits of Australians. The resulting lockdowns and public health restrictions led to notable shifts in bettor behaviour. This included the closure of several well-established land-based venues, as well as a rise in online gambling activity.

In addition, Australian sports bettors who used to rely on the likes of the AFL and NRL recognised alternative sports betting markets such as virtual sports and Esports.

Post-pandemic, some of the other emerging trends in the Australian gambling sector include the concept of cashless gambling and the growing issue of gambling advertising and managing the exposure of betting odds and terminology to potentially vulnerable customers. We’ll cover all these and more in this detailed guide, alongside some key statistics on gambling in Australia in 2024. 

Key Australian Gambling Statistics for 2024

Looking to get a feel for the market for gambling in Australia? Below, we’ve put together a shortlist of the key gambling statistics and habits among Aussies to set the tone for the rest of our article.

  • More than a quarter (27.50%) of young Australian adults participate in gambling
    More than one in four young adults aged 18-25 regularly gambles.
  • Almost two-thirds (64.9%) of problem gamblers in Australia are male
    That’s according to data from the Australian Institute of Family Studies.
  • The average net loss per capita across all forms of gambling in Australia is $1,067.70
    This includes gaming machines, lottery games, scratchies, sports betting, casino table games, keno and other forms of gaming.
  • Queensland is home to the highest number of land-based casinos
    This state boasts four brick-and-mortar casino venues, two more than those in New South Wales, Northern Territory and Tasmania.
  • Australia’s casino tourism market is set for solid growth from 2022-32
    New data suggests the casino tourism industry Down Under will develop at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.8%.

How Much Do Australians Spend and Lose on Gambling?

To truly understand the depth of the Australian gambling market, we need to ascertain how much the average punter spends – and loses – on gambling products. There are plenty of gambling statistics out there that detail gambling expenditure in Australia.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has information compiled for its annual Australian Gambling Statistics report. The most recent available data covers the expenditure of Australian bettors in 2019/20.

The total net losses of Aussie gamblers was $21.2 billion, down from $25.9 billion in the previous year. However, it must be acknowledged that the 2019/20 data does include the period of COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions, which hit total gambling expenditure hard. However, looking at the longer term, it is down on the net losses posted by Australian gamblers in 2001/02 ($22.9 billion).

Let’s drill down and explore the biggest loss-makers in the Australian gambling industry. Below, we’ll detail the gambling products that yielded the highest net loss per capita in 2019/20:

Gambling Product Net Loss Per Capita
Gaming Machines $512.60
Lottery Games $131.90
Sports Betting $229.60
Casino Gaming $176.60
Keno $15.40
Other Gaming $1.70
All Gaming $1,067.70

According to the above data, almost half of all gambling losses incurred by the average Aussie gambler are generated by gambling machines, i.e., pokies. Meanwhile, just under a fifth of all gambling losses by the average Aussie gambler are generated through sports betting.

How much do Australians spend on gambling in each territory? Fortunately, the AIHW data does break down the average net loss by state and territory for 2019/20:

State/Territory Total Net Losses (2019/20)
New South Wales $9.6 billion
Victoria $4.6 billion
Queensland $3.9 billion
South Australia $1 billion
Western Australia $1.4 billion
Tasmania $0.3 billion
Australian Capital Territory $0.3 billion
Northern Territory $0.2 billion

The AIHW urges a note of caution on the full accuracy of the state-by-state data, as every jurisdiction has its own way of collecting gambling expenditure data. It’s also important to mention that gambling regulations also differ from state to state, as most wagering providers in Australia are registered in the Northern Territory, which explains why net losses had risen from 2010/11 to 2018/19 ($2.4 billion) prior to 2019/20.

Statistics on Australian Casinos

the Australian Gambling Research Centre (AGRC)

According to the Australian Gambling Research Centre (AGRC), participation in conventional land-based casinos has been waning among Australians over the past decade. At the same time, online gambling on sports and horse racing has been rising on a sliding scale.

Electronic gaming machines remain the bread and butter of revenue generation for land-based operators. According to Statista, the country boasts approximately 2,934 hotel venues with electronic gaming facilities, as well as 1,840 gaming clubs situated nationwide.

As for dedicated brick-and-mortar casinos, the number of active venues providing gambling in casinos differs from state to state. As of June 2020, Queensland boasted the most active land-based casinos with four, followed by New South Wales, the Northern Territory and Tasmania, all of which have two casinos apiece.

South Australia, Victoria, Western Australia and the Australian Capital Territory each have one active land-based venue for gambling in casinos.

The most popular venue for gambling in casinos Down Under is said to be Crown Casino Melbourne. That’s according to Future Market Insights, which provides statistics on gambling in Australia. The country’s casino tourism market was worth approximately $15.3 million in 2022, with the market projected to grow over the next decade at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.8% to $27.77 million.

Statistics on Australian Online Casinos

We need to reiterate the legal picture of online gambling in Australia. At the time of writing, online casino gaming was prohibited in Australia for operators based in the country. This has been the case ever since the 2001 Interactive Gambling Act (IGA) was enacted, meaning Australian online casinos cannot operate.

There is a clear and obvious loophole here, though. While Australian operators are unable to serve Aussies, it’s not illegal for Australians to play online casino games and pokies with operators licensed offshore for online gambling purposes. 

According to the latest data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, total participation in gambling activities has fallen from 64.3% in 2010/11 to 56.9% in 2018/19. This decline was largely attributed to a fall in land-based wagering, but online gambling transactions were up 9.4% during the same period.

2022 data from the Australian Government Department of Social Services also found that more than one in ten (11%) Australians has participated in any form of online gambling in the last six months.

What Gambling Products Are the Most Popular in Australia

Flemington horse racing a crowd and betting

Looking at the latest data on gambling participation from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), which covers 2022, 73% of Aussies of legal age surveyed said they had wagered money on at least one gambling service in the last 12 months.

Below, we’ll detail the most popular gambling products based on the most recent gambling statistics from the AIHW:

Gambling Product Active Players (%)
Lotteries or Scratchies 63.8%
Horse Racing 38.1%
Sports Betting 33.8%
Poker Machines 33.4%
Keno or Bingo 29.8%
Greyhound Racing 24.4%
Harness Racing 22.5%
Casino Table Games 22.4%
Novelty Betting 17.2%
Online Casino Games 17%
Other Gambling 18.5%

The data shows that more than three-fifths of Aussies surveyed have dabbled in lottery games or scratchies in the last 12 months. In fact, this was comfortably the most popular gambling product Down Under in 2022. 

Scratchies have an enduring popularity because of their instant gratification. Players can buy scratch tickets at their local grocery stores or online and get immediate results. Win or lose, scratchies are perfect for casual, time-poor bettors and are more attractive than casino games in this regard, according to gambling statistics. 

It goes without saying that lottery games are just as popular as scratchies Down Under due to the incentive to enter and win huge jackpots and other attractive prizes. Whether it’s cash, luxury cars, homes or vacations, lottery games have that life-changing potential with a low barrier to entry.

It’s also interesting to note that horse racing attracted a greater number of Aussie bettors than those wishing to bet on other sports Down Under. Horse racing is a sport that’s steeped in tradition and part of popular culture. It’s home to a string of iconic horse races, most notably the Melbourne Cup, which captures the imagination of even casual bettors every year.

Emerging Gambling Trends

It’s also important to drill down further still to investigate some of the most pressing individual issues in the Australian gambling industry. Below, we’ll talk about three of the most prominent gambling trends in Australia today and their likely impact on the sector.

Cashless Gambling

Cashless gambling is one of the fastest-growing trends in gambling in Australia. Assessing the statistics on gambling in Australia’s casinos, a recent trial of cashless gambling occurred in New South Wales, spanning 4,500 of its 86,872 land-based pokies. 

The concept of cashless gambling emerged several years ago. In 2019, Victoria implemented cashless gambling across a string of its land-based casino venues to take its anti-money laundering provisions to the next level.

Since then, it’s been rolled out effectively across several other states and territories Down Under. Tasmania will also apply a universal cashless betting limit to protect the best interests of vulnerable bettors.

Timeframe Cashless Betting Limit
Daily $100
Monthly $500
Yearly $5,000


It’s worth noting those who can afford to spend more than this on gambling in Australia will be required to prove their income first.

The Rise of Gambling Marketing

When it comes to the welfare of gamblers in Australia, one of the most alarming trends is the escalating exposure of consumers to gambling marketing. This spans advertising on television, social media and within websites, showcasing bonuses and other incentives for users to bet. There’s also increased exposure to betting brands through the rise of sponsorships of sports leagues, events and athletes.

According to a study by Nielsen, commissioned by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), more than one million gambling adverts were shown on free-to-air television and radio stations between May 2022 and April 2023. ACMA estimates this level of gambling marketing would cost upwards of $238 million in advertising campaigns, targeting existing and lapsed customers into betting.

These figures don’t even consider the raft of gambling advertisements aired on satellite and subscription-based television and streaming platforms.

The study is also backed up by data from Sportsbet, one of the largest online sports betting brands in Australia, which shows it hiked its marketing spend by $19 million in H1 2023.

Betting on Gaming Machines is in a Steady Decline

Looking at the latest data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, there has been a steady decline in real gambling expenditure on gaming machines like pokies.

At its peak, real gambling expenditure on gaming machines Down Under reached $14.3 billion in 2004/05, just before the online casino boom. There was a relatively nominal decline through to 2006/07 ($14.1 billion), but by 2018/19, this figure had fallen to $12.9 billion.

The fact that real gambling in Australia via any product has risen from $23.9 billion to $25.9 billion in the same period suggests that Aussies are increasingly looking to other products to meet their gambling needs.

Final Words

To summarise, it’s clear one of the biggest gambling trends in Australia is the rise of online gambling. The battle for the government and industry regulators is to deal with the so-called ‘black market’ operators – the offshore operators that can serve Australian bettors with no regulations or compliance frameworks to abide by.

Tackling the dominance of gambling advertising and marketing must surely be another pertinent issue, ensuring the next generation of legal gamblers Down Under can bet when they’re good and ready.

In addition, cashless gambling brings public health benefits, but there’s also a big challenge to ensuring betting limits are safe but fair for all concerned.

Now that you’re up to speed with the latest statistics on gambling in Australia, make sure you check the following relevant articles for more information about the situation with gambling in Australia:

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