Queensland Study Shows Aussie Gambling Increase

he Queensland Treasury is known for publishing its annual Australian Gambling Statistics. The latest version to be released is the 35th edition that goes as far as to cover the 2017-2018 year.

Reporting Background

The history of the Australian Gambling Statistics report dates back to 1983 and the Conference of Government Racing Officials in Darwin. Attendees wanted to find a way to gather reliable economic and social data on gambling for the entirety of Australia.

Later that year, the Racing and Gaming Ministers’ Conference in Melbourne took it further and decided to establish the National Statistical Data Bank across the country. Every state agreed to submit their racing and gaming statistics per a format developed by the Tasmanian Racing and Gaming Commission.

States began submitting their information dating back tin 1972.

Ultimately, the Queensland Treasury agreed to collect the data, pull it all together, and release it annually for the public.

With that, the Queensland Treasury released the 35th edition of the Australian Gambling Statistics report to cover 1992-1993 to 2017-2018. The Treasury released it this month.

Basic Statistics

The big news from the report is that the amount of money Australians lost to gambling from 2017 to 2018 was $24.887 billion, which was a 5% increase from the previous year.

The largest increase happened in New South Wales with a 3.2% increase to $9.8 billion. Victoria was second with a 6.2% increase to $5.8 billion.

On the other hand, Western Australia decreased its amount of gambling loss by 3.2% to $1.3 billion. Tasmania followed with a 1.6% decrease, and the Australian Capital Territory decreased by 0.4%.

Tim Costello of the Alliance for Gambling Reform speculated that the current rates will push the 2018-2019 numbers over $25 billion in total. “That’s a number over which our political leaders should be hanging their heads in shame,” he said.

Further, Costello claimed that betting ads are significantly to blame. “Is it any wonder this is happening in Australia when our national sporting codes have a partnership with gambling companies, and gambling advertising is so prolific on television, radio, online and in outdoor advertising? Our governments can and should do better.”

Regional Explanations

First, the report focuses on New South Wales and its significant increase.

Powerball rules changed in January 2018 to introduce another prize division, increase the entry fee, and change the number of balls in the main draw. As for lotteries, the New South Wales Lotteries in March changed to award additional prizes.

And in April, the laws changed to cap the number of gaming machines in some establishments but allowed for machine entitlements in small hotels and clubs “to improve their ongoing financial viability.”

Victoria, second on the list of increased loss territories, didn’t change much pertaining to the availability of gambling. It did, however, begin a prohibition on static betting advertising in certain situations, such as near schools, on public transportation infrastructure, and on public roads. This wasn’t implemented until May 2018, though.

Western Australia’s improvement may be tied to several changes, most of which took place in 2017. It changed bingo payouts and references to bookmaker pricing. Ironically, gaming became more prevalent in some ways.

WA authorized cruise ships to operate onboard casinos, withdrawing a former prohibition on gambling within 12 nautical miles of the Western Australia coastline.

Tasmania did, perhaps, the most to address responsible gambling and strengthen existing measures while implementing new initiatives that inform customers about choices.

In addition, Tasmanian political parties focused a lot of attention on electronic gaming machines in hotels and clubs, prompting the public to become more aware of the dangers and potential harm.

Losses Per Gambling Type

To break down the numbers by the type of gambling involved provides more insight into which forms are becoming more popular. It also shows the types in which people are more likely to lose money.

  • Racing, mostly TAB = down 9.8%
  • Sports betting (TAB fixed odds) = up 37.2%
  • Gaming = down 1.4%

Since the gaming category includes so many different forms of gambling, it is important to break the numbers down further:

  • Casino gaming = down 8.4%
  • Gaming machines = down 3%
  • Instant lottery= up 7.5%
  • Keno = up 271.6%
  • Lotteries = up 23.6%
  • Lotto = up 11.4%
  • Pools = up 16.7%

Clearly, the most significant jump came in keno, but the numbers are still low as compared to overall spending on other forms of gambling. However, sports betting saw notable growth in gambling losses. If Costello is accurate, this is in great part due to prolific advertising.

With all of the talk about casino gaming and pokies, it is somewhat surprising that the losses decreased in the past year. Perhaps the information being passed on through media coverage and responsible gambling platforms is getting through to the public.


Rose Varrelli avatar
Rose Varrelli
Senior Casino & News Writer

Hi there! I’m Rose, and with nine years behind me in the iGaming industry, I craft engaging narratives at CasinoAus. My education in Communication across Europe has sharpened my skills in fintech, casino legislation, and digital marketing. Backed by a strong foundation in SEO, storytelling, and cross-cultural communication, I’m passionate about creating content that resonates globally and educates our audience.

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