Gambling In Australia – The Complete Statistics

Updated: 31 Oct 2023


Whether it’s playing casino games or betting on sporting events, gambling is a prevalent pastime in Australia. This industry contributed over AU$6.2 billion to its economy in 2018 – making Australians the world’s biggest gamblers.

These impressive figures have encouraged many businesses to start operations Down Under. So what are the most played games, who gamble the most, and how much do Australians bet on average? Our expert guide breaks down the latest complete statistics to answer your questions about this ever-growing industry.


Each Australian state and territory has a dedicated governing body that regulates gambling and records the statistics:

Victoria – Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation
Western Australia – Department of Racing, Gaming, and Liquor
Tasmania – Tasmanian Gaming Commission
South Australia – Independent Gambling Authority
Queensland – Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation
Australian Capital Territory – ACT Gambling and Racing Commission
Northern Territory – Licensing Commission
New South Wales – Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing

The Queensland Government Statistician’s Office (QGSO) use the data collected by the above authorities to make reports. This government subsidiary published the most recent statistics on gambling from 1994 to 2019, on April 28 2021.


In total, Australians spent over AU$25 billion in 2018-19. Considering there are only around 19.75 million Australians aged over 18, this is an extraordinary figure. So what do Aussies spend their money on?

The 36th edition of Australian gambling statistics shows the average figures spent on each gambling activity per person over 18 from 2018 to 2019:

– Horse and greyhound racing – AU$1,376.60

-Gaming (this includes money spent at casinos, on gaming machines, instant lottery, lotteries, keno, interactive gaming, lotto, minor gaming, pools) – AU$9,581.11

– Sports betting – AU$567.32 Total spend on gambling – AU$11,525.04

The figures above only represent the money spent. Some players will have lost or won after making these wagers. Remember, however, that the house always wins. The latest statistics show that total gambling losses amount to over AU$25 billion (a 0.5% increase from 2017-18). Therefore, on average, each player loses nearly AU$1,300 a year.

Amount of money lost to each gambling activity:

-Horse and greyhound racing – AU$179.15

-Gaming (this includes money spent at casinos, on gaming machines, bingo, lotteries, keno, interactive gaming, lotto, minor gaming, pools etc.) – AU$1,048.56

-Sports betting – AU$49.07

-Total spend on gambling per capita – AU$1,276.78

Keep in mind that these are average losses. Individuals have lost much more to gambling or – in much rarer cases – have won much more.


A research report conducted by the Australian Institute of Family Studies in 2017 made some other key findings:

Australia is home to over 6.8 million regular gamblers – this represents 39% of the population.

Participating in lotteries was the number one activity (76%), buying instant scratch was in second place (22%) and playing electronic gaming machines – such as pokies, quiz games etc. – was close behind (21%)

54% of gamblers were male even though they represent 49% of the adult population

Gamblers tended to spend at least half their bankroll on one product

Players with a university degree or living in a house with children spent less on gambling compared to those without

Over 1.39 million Australian adults had experienced one or more gambling-related problems

Females spent more than males on instant scratch tickets

Lower-income groups spent more on instant scratch tickets and electronic gaming machines, such as bingo and pokies, than those with higher incomes.

People aged 18-29 spent more on sports betting compared to other age groups

Single people spent more on EGMs and sports betting than people who were married/in a relationship.

Gamblers living in low-income households spent, on average, a greater proportion of their household’s total disposable income on gambling than high-income households (10% vs 1%)


The Australian Gambling Research Centre carried out a report to see how COVID-19 restrictions affected gambling in 2020.

Almost one out of every three survey participants had registered an account with an online betting site during COVID-19, and one out of twenty had started to play online

Participants stated that they had gambled more frequently during COVID-19

The number of participants who usually bet four or more times a week increased from 23% to 32%

The most popular gambling products before and during the pandemic continued to be horse racing, greyhound racing and lotto games

79% of the participants were at risk of, or already suffering from, gambling-related harm

Men aged 18-34 years were more likely to sign up for new online accounts, increase their monthly spending on gambling (from $687 to $1,075), and be at risk of gambling-related harm

Key experts stated that the temporary closure of pokies venues had led to gamblers savings money


Gambling laws prevent Australian-based online casinos from offering their services, such as roulette, poker, craps, slots and blackjack, to customers in the country.

For this reason, there are no official statistics of Australians playing at online casinos. The Interactive Gambling Act (2001) also tries to stop service providers based in other countries from accepting customers from Australia.

However, hundreds of online casinos welcome customers based in Oz. Why? Because it is almost impossible for the Australian government to prosecute companies abroad. Also, keep in mind that this legislation keeps business in check – it doesn’t prosecute individuals looking to enjoy online gambling sites.

The lack of regulation of online casinos means you need to be careful when gaming online. For peace of mind when hunting for cash prizes at gambling sites, we recommend that you sign up with businesses regulated by the UK Gambling Commission, The Malta Gaming Authority, or other trusted regulatory bodies.

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