Australians Are the World’s Biggest Gambling Losers (Article)

Wagerallsports

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Australians Are the World’s Biggest Gambling Losers, and Some Seek Action

By Adam Baidawi

April 4, 2018
MELBOURNE, Australia — In pockets of suburbia all across Australia, electronic gambling machines known as pokies await their many customers in pubs, hotels and sports clubs, as common a fixture as A.T.M.s in a shopping mall.

But the unremarkable machines contribute to an extraordinary level of gambling. Government statistics show that they account for more than half of individual Australians’ annual gambling losses, a gargantuan 24 billion Australian dollars, or about $18.4 billion. On a per-capita basis, Australians lose far and away the most in the world: more than 1,200 Australian dollars every year (or $920).


Australia’s gambling losses per adult are more than double those in the United States, and around 50 percent higher than second-placed Singapore, according to H2 Gambling Capital, an analytics company.

As those figures swell, a public war is brewing between venue operators and people against gambling, with each trying to win the hearts and minds of state governments that rely on revenue from the machines.

Known colloquially as pokies, the electronic gaming machines are similar to slot machines seen in casinos elsewhere. Pokies aren’t the only major form of gambling in Australia — casinos account for around 20 percent of gambling losses here — but they remain by far the most profitable for operators and most damaging for gamblers, gaming opponents say. And they permeate small towns with a prominence that is unmatched around the world.

“What makes Australia unique is that we’ve allowed these machines to be embedded in our local communities,” said Angela Rintoul, a research fellow at the Australian Gambling Research Center, a government-financed organization. “We haven’t contained them just to casinos, where many jurisdictions in the world have.”

In Australia, the pubs, clubs and hotels that house the machines usually resemble typical English pubs, replete with a bar and dining area but with the addition of a dedicated gaming room.

“Often, Australians don’t realize it,” she said of the ubiquity of the machines. “It’s like being a fish in water.”

Their operators are often prominent community entities: Woolworths, one of Australia’s largest supermarket chains, is the biggest operator of pokies in the country, controlling about 12,000 machines through its majority stake in the Australian Leisure and Hospitality Group, a large company that encompasses bars, restaurants and wagering.

Though the Woolworths Group doesn’t distinguish liquor sales from gambling revenues in its annual report, estimates suggest that it pulls more than 1 billion Australian dollars, or $770 million, in revenue from the machines each year.

Other community mainstays also operate machines. In Victoria, the heartland of Australian Rules Football, 90 percent of Australian Football League teams operate their own pokies, generating more than 93 million Australian dollars in revenue last year.

Pokies are regulated on a state-by-state basis, instead of by the federal government. Western Australia is the only state or territory that bans the operation of pokies outside casinos.
 
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Wagerallsports

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Can anyone from Australia talk about pokies there?

Are the winning percentages set as more difficult compared to other electronic casino games?
 

BMR_Brad

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Can anyone from Australia talk about pokies there?

Are the winning percentages set as more difficult compared to other electronic casino games?

Pokies are just slot machines. You can bet more and try to double up your win up to 5 times every time though. So they are more "dangerous" than slots I've seen in the USA.

The machines have fair payout percentages. In some states they have to be published and 98% is available at big clubs.

That article is trying to cherry pick a raw statistic that does not really say what they claim it does though.

Australia is a unique case when it comes to gambling. For the entire 200 year history of the country gambling has been a big part of society and not the taboo thing it can be seen as in other countries.

Even today, as migration and the internet has "polluted" that part of Australian culture a little, still over 90% of adults gamble at least once per year. So the $1000/yr the average Australian adult spends on gambling per year is spread over the entire population and not just a figure based on the spend of the "degenerate" minority in countries like the USA.

I'd guess that if the statistics were based on the average loss per actual actual gambler, instead of per adult, Australia would actually rank very low. As gamblers are more sophisticated in understanding the game here. As we have learned about it since childhood. When I was young school would stop and TVs rolled into class to watch the Melbourne Cup each year and we would even have a betting type sweepstakes pool on the race in class. Run by the teachers.

Less than 2% of the population are considered problem gamblers btw.

That is a well researched/proven statistic the anti gambling social justice warriors have a lot of trouble explaining.

But that is what social acceptance and proper regulation (like not allowing live in-play online betting) does.



That said... life for a an addict is tougher. There is somewhere to gamble everywhere you go. I am just in suburbia of a big city and think I could find 10 venues with pokies within 15 mins drive of my home. Plus a horse racing track, 3 or 4 TAB outlets for sportsbetting and more if I thought about it. There is a lot of rules to try and make venues not prey on problem gamblers too though I guess.
 

Wagerallsports

Moderator
Staff member
Pokies are just slot machines. You can bet more and try to double up your win up to 5 times every time though. So they are more "dangerous" than slots I've seen in the USA.

The machines have fair payout percentages. In some states they have to be published and 98% is available at big clubs.

That article is trying to cherry pick a raw statistic that does not really say what they claim it does though.

Australia is a unique case when it comes to gambling. For the entire 200 year history of the country gambling has been a big part of society and not the taboo thing it can be seen as in other countries.

Even today, as migration and the internet has "polluted" that part of Australian culture a little, still over 90% of adults gamble at least once per year. So the $1000/yr the average Australian adult spends on gambling per year is spread over the entire population and not just a figure based on the spend of the "degenerate" minority in countries like the USA.

I'd guess that if the statistics were based on the average loss per actual actual gambler, instead of per adult, Australia would actually rank very low. As gamblers are more sophisticated in understanding the game here. As we have learned about it since childhood. When I was young school would stop and TVs rolled into class to watch the Melbourne Cup each year and we would even have a betting type sweepstakes pool on the race in class. Run by the teachers.

Less than 2% of the population are considered problem gamblers btw.

That is a well researched/proven statistic the anti gambling social justice warriors have a lot of trouble explaining.

But that is what social acceptance and proper regulation (like not allowing live in-play online betting) does.



That said... life for a an addict is tougher. There is somewhere to gamble everywhere you go. I am just in suburbia of a big city and think I could find 10 venues with pokies within 15 mins drive of my home. Plus a horse racing track, 3 or 4 TAB outlets for sportsbetting and more if I thought about it. There is a lot of rules to try and make venues not prey on problem gamblers too though I guess.




Good info, thank you.
 

Tart

Banned
What is Austrsailias most popular sport to wager on?? Guessing it is Horses or Football
 

BMR_Brad

Moderator
Staff member
What is Austrsailias most popular sport to wager on?? Guessing it is Horses or Football

I'd only be guessing. Australians often say we would bet on two flies crawling up a wall. But Horse Racing is likely the biggest. There are a lot of tracks and meetings here for a small population.

Cricket is pretty big. Aussie rules and rugby league might be up there. Local sportsbooks push a lot of American sports so I guess that must be either popular or profitable for them as well.
 

GreenAcres

Member
Staff member
I'd be curious to know how much Aussies are betting on football/soccer in comparison to cricket, the AFL and NRL. Pokies are just insane and it always amazes me the variety of people in there. All ages, ethnicities,doesn't matter.
 

Tart

Banned
Horses yes thats it...so many ways to wager..and many venues across the Counrty to choose from. When is the Melbourne Cup?
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