By the Numbers: Surprising Stats About Australian Sports Betting

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Did you know that in 2015, more than half a million Australians placed regular bets on sporting events? Most of these participants were males between the ages of 18 and 49 and spent approximately $1,032 each over the course of a year.

All told, approximately $579 million is spent a year on Australian sports betting. Making sports betting one of the most popular gaming activities in Australia today.

Twenty-five per cent of these bets involve competitions not including horse or greyhound racing!

One factor driving Australia’s multi-billion dollar gaming industry is the increased use of smartphones, which let gamblers bet anywhere using convenient apps.

Interested in more stats when it comes to the Australian betting market? Here’s our breakdown of the most surprising and interesting numbers coming out of the industry.

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The Rise of Australian Sports Betting

Sports gaming in Australia has grown steadily in recent years. That said, one area still dominates all others, race betting. This includes a variety of formats from harness racing to thoroughbred racing and greyhound racing.

When it’s all said and done, racing comprises 75 per cent of all the betting done in Australia. And of this, 50.9 per cent remains more specifically thoroughbred horse racing. Greyhound racing captures 12.5 per cent and harness racing 11.4 per cent.

Besides racing, 10.7 per cent of Australian bets go towards competitive athletic events such as cricket, basketball, football, netball, swimming, cycling, and more.

When it comes to the NRL/State of origin’s markets (rugby league), they get 7.6 per cent and the AFL (Australian rules football) 6.8 per cent.

Despite the Australian fixation with traditional horse racing, bettors are relying on the latest technologies to assist them with placing their wagers.

Smartphone apps now allow more people than ever before to place bets from the comfort of their homes.

But many Australians also rely on these apps when they’re away from home. Some even use them while standing in the horse racing stands watching the action.

What Are Australians Betting On?

We’ve already mentioned the fact that Australians have a love of race betting. But before we dive into the demographics of today’s bettor in Australia, it’s worth taking a look at the different types of sporting events wagered on outside of animal races.

Some of the most popular competitive events that people gamble on include:

  • The Australian Open tennis
  • The Melbourne Cup
  • Ashes cricket
  • The Olympics
  • The Commonwealth Games
  • The World Cup

So, who are these gamblers? And where do they live? Here’s a breakdown of who’s making the most wagers in Australia.

Who Are Australia’s Biggest Gamblers?

Most of Australia’s bettors are males between the ages of 35 and 46 years old. And they bet on a wide variety of activities.

When we look more specifically at the age of these gamblers, some more fascinating facts emerge. Of the 10.5 per cent of Australians who have placed a bet during the last quarter, the vast majority are working-aged men.

What’s more, they tend to spend more and more on betting until they reach retirement age. After retirement, betting decreases steadily.

Of men aged 25 to 34 years old, their bets comprised 9.3 per cent of all gaming. Whereas men aged 35-49 made up 11.3 per cent of the betting population. Men aged 50-64 ended up being the largest group at 12.6 per cent.

Then, the effects of retirement start to kick in, with men aged 65+ making up just 10.2 per cent of all Australian bets.

Where Do These Bettors Live?

There’s an interesting correlation between the size of an Australian’s state and their likelihood to gamble. Those from the largest states of Victoria and New South Wales tend to place the most bets.

On one hand, residents of Victoria place 11.5 per cent of all bets in Australia, and those in New South Wales place 11.1 per cent. On the other hand, residents of the smallest states do far less gambling.

Residents of Tasmania, for example, only make up 7.2 per cent of all bettors, and South Australia comes in at 8.1 per cent. Researchers correlate this with the lack of professional sporting content in smaller states.

In New South Wales there are 17 professional AFL, NRL, Super Rugby, and A-League clubs and 14 in Victoria. But places like South Australia only have three, and Tasmania has no football clubs at all.

There’s something to be said for regional rivalries and competition.

That said, the Northern Territory bucks this trend. They come in at a high proportion, accounting for  11.1 per cent of all bets despite the lack of athletic clubs. But a little historical context proves useful here.

The Northern Territory has long been home to Australian horse racing and sports betting companies. This is because of their favourable laws when it comes to their industry. It only makes sense that this population would be interested in betting.

More Interesting Facts About the Australian Gaming Industry

Placing the data above within the larger context of the Australian gaming industry (taking into account casinos, lotteries, and pokies), provides fascinating context for these betting statistics.

In 2016-2017, total gaming expenditures accounted for $23.694 billion. That’s a drop of 0.5 per cent from 2015-2016 when total gambling expenditures accounted for $23.804 billion.

As a result, adult gaming expenditures also dropped from $1,277.83 (in 2015-2016) to $1,251.39 (in 2016-2017). That’s a decrease of 1.7 per cent.

Yet, Australian electronic gaming expenditures increased, which is not surprising within the context of greater smartphone usage. How much did this aspect of gaming increase? By 0.5 per cent.

In other words, electronic gaming accounted for $12.074 billion in 2015-2016 and $12.136 billion in 2016-2017.

As for casinos, they saw a decrease in total expenditures from $5.195 billion to $4.790 billion, one of the most dramatic drops in the industry. That’s a decrease of 7.89 per cent from 2015-2016 to 2016-2017.

How well did sports betting do within this larger context? Quite well. Total race betting jumped from $3.099 billion in 2015-2016 to $3.313 billion in 2016-2017. That’s an increase of 6.9 per cent.

And as for total sports betting in Australia? It skyrocketed from $921 million to $1.062 billion from 2015-2016 to 2016-2017. That’s an enviable increase of 15.3 per cent.

The Takeaway from All of This

Nothing beats the thrill of winning a casino jackpot. From the throngs of envious onlookers to the stunning visuals, bright lights, and attention-grabbing music and sounds, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience that everyone should have.

And, hopefully, it’ll happen far more often than once in your lifetime!

But when it comes to betting in Australia, casinos have encountered a bit of a slump in recent years.

Some of this can be directly correlated to the rise of smartphone availability in Australia and the genuine convenience of using apps to gamble.

After all, there’s no need for poker etiquette (or even dressing up) when it comes to gambling from the comfort of your couch. But is it as thrilling or exciting? Not nearly!

There are 60 licensed casinos in Australia, with a presence in every state (including smaller establishments). In New South Wales and Queensland, you’ll find many world-class facilities rivalling mega-casinos in the United States.

But they’ll need to find new ways to interact with smartphone gamblers in order to gain an edge on this fast-growing market.

They’ll also need to focus more heavily on their sportsbook areas to help regain some of their lost competitiveness. Finally, casinos need to recapture the public imagination when it comes to the glamour and romance of their facilities.

If they can exude more of that James Bond charisma, they’ll inspire a new generation of clientele to come out for a visit, even if their smartphones are in hand.

Smartphones and Aussie Sports Betting

The pervasive nature of smartphones, however, has enhanced Australian sports betting when it comes to everything from animal racing to rugby league competitions. In fact, these segments are doing better than ever.

Part of the allure of sports betting comes from regional competitiveness with the biggest states seeing the highest percentages of gamblers. Residents of these areas may also have more disposable income at their fingertips.

Of course, the biggest outlier in all of this remains the Northern Territory. But this can be explained by a basic understanding of Australian history in the region.

Working-aged males remain the primary target audience for gaming. But when this core group of gamblers hits retirement age, their likelihood of dabbling in wagers falls off significantly. This is most likely a marker of life on a fixed income.

Australian Sports Betting

Australian sports betting remains a segment of the gaming industry that’s seeing ferocious growth.

While other segments of the gaming industry, such as casinos, have seen declines in recent years, technology has only seemed to bolster the sports betting market. And horse racing remains at the head of the pack.

But other areas such as greyhound racing and harness racing also continue to do well. And when it comes to team sports such as football, rugby, and basketball, they also bring in significant revenues.

Interested in learning more about where the action is when it comes to Australian gaming? From casinos to sports betting, online poker to lotteries, we’ve got you covered.

Check out our full guide to sports betting in Oz now. From the nation’s biggest booker to offshore sites that accept Australian dollars, we’ve got everything you need to know to gain a competitive edge.


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