Australians love gambling. While that love generates significant revenue for the state, it does, of course, have its drawback in the form of high gambling addiction rates. A new report shows just how prominent a role gambling plays in the country’s economy.
Latest gambling sector findings
The popularity of electronic gaming machines (EGMs) in Australia has exploded. In a twelve-month period encompassing parts of 2016 and 2017, EGMs generated revenue of more than $5.8bn (£4.4bn) and directly helped to create more than 46,000 jobs.
These findings come from a study conducted by the Centre for International Economics. The nation’s Gaming Technologies Association commissioned the study to identify the economic impact of these machines on the Australian economy.
Another key finding was that the revenue from both the commonwealth and state taxes nearly reached the $4bn (£3bn) mark during the period studied. The revenue derived from tourists playing EGMs, in addition to the sale of some machines on the international market, brought in revenues of $203m (£155m).
Player expenditures on these machines rose by more than 50% over the previous decade. A report conducted in 1996 to 1997 showed this figure to be $5.87bn (£4.48bn); in this new study, expenditures were more $9bn (£6.9bn).
The revenue derived from these machines helped to create almost 43,000 jobs in clubs and pubs, almost 2,000 new jobs in casinos, and more than 2,000 in manufacturing.
Australians are mad for their gambling, and the country is always near the top of the ranking of nations that gamble the most. They tend to bet on anything and everything. If they are asked for their favorite form of gambling, many of them will name EGMs.
It is obvious that these machines are a great source of revenue for the provinces and the overall state, and they are a great attraction for the casinos, clubs, and pubs that have them.
They also have created a significant number of jobs and they clearly create a lot of enjoyment for their players. However, problem gambling in the country needs to be addressed.
Problem gambling in Australia
While there have been some indications that problem gambling in Australia is on the decline, it does not account for the people who are taking part in online gambling, which is ever expanding. The new study shows that just under 50% of the adult population participates in some form of gambling over a period of three months.
One of the most popular forms of gambling is the lottery. Of these people, about 1.5% of men and 0.9% of women have gambling problems, meaning about 200,000 people. This, of course, is a significant figure, which is why the authorities have been doing their part as of late to try to help lower it.
The Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill, which came into effect in August 2017, made online poker illegal in Australia. Synthetic lotteries and overseas lotteries were also banned.
Some of the major provinces in the country increased their gambling-related tax for online platforms, and there has been a widespread crackdown on gambling advertising.
Young people are the most vulnerable to problem gambling, and it is felt that gambling ads are targeting them from a very early age. This has a serious impact on their developing brains and tends to normalize gambling to a level that is often not healthy.
There are gambling ads everywhere, showing the industry in a positive light, which is why certain types of ads have been banned. Since March 2018, Australian television channels are no longer permitted to show gaming ads on live broadcasts of sports events.
Even video games are pushing the idea of gambling toward younger people. Most major game titles include loot boxes, which makes them games of chance.
While tokens can be earned in-game, they can also be purchased. The authorities are now looking at regulating these types of loot boxes.