What are the odds? Australians gambling less

Australians are gambling less across all categories, according to new research, reflecting “a large drop” in the past decade.

This is the overall finding of Roy Morgan’s ‘Gambling Currency Report’, which includes detailed questioning of more than 7,000 gamblers.

Ten years ago, nearly two thirds of the Australian population aged 18-plus (64.7 per cent or 10.5 million people) gambled in an average three months.

This proportion has now fallen to just 47.9 per cent or 9.3 million.

Lottery and scratch tickets record biggest drop

Not only has the overall proportion of gamblers fallen, but participants in all major types of gambling have fallen too.

The biggest drop in participation over the decade was for lottery/scratch tickets. These were down 16.3 percentage points to 40.1 per cent. Nevertheless, they’re still by far the most popular gambling category.

Poker machines showed the next biggest loss, declining by 11.9 percentage points to 13.7 per cent.

Finally, betting fell 5.9 percentage points to 9.4 per cent.

Gambling less popular with younger people

The overall participation in gambling is lowest for the 18-24 age group, at 25.7 per cent. They’re followed by 25-34 year-olds, at 37.5 per cent. Both are well below average.

The highest participation is for those aged 50-64, at 61 per cent. Those aged 65 and over are at 57.8 per cent.

Over the last decade, the 18-24 group showed the biggest decline in participation, down 26.1 percentage points. However, all ages under 50 showed an average decline of 16.8 percentage points. By contrast, the 65-and-over segment showed a much smaller decline of 8.1 percentage points.

Betting in decline too

Participation in high-profile betting, covering all types of racing and sports, has fallen too. Now, just 9.5 per cent of the population takes part, down from 15.3 per cent a decade ago. Although all age groups have shown declining participation, the greatest decline is in those under 50.

Betting seems to increase with age, going from only 4.7 per cent for those aged 18-24 up to 11.7 per cent for the 50-64 age group. However, the 65-and-over segment are around the market average on 9.5 per cent (market average: 9.4 per cent).

‘Falling out of favour’

Roy Morgan Industry Communications Director Norman Morris pointed out that, despite these falls, just under half (47.9 per cent) of the Australian population over 18 (9.3 million people) still engage in at least one form of gambling in an average three months.

He also attributed the decline of gambling primarily to stiff competition from other leisure pursuits.

“The fact that less Australians of all ages are gambling, in a market with an increasing number of gambling options, is likely to be as a result of it falling out of favour as it competes with a proliferation of other entertainment and leisure activities,” he said.

“Increasing warnings and publicity given to potential gambling problems may also discourage participation,” he added.

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