Fewer Australians gambling now than a decade ago

April 24, 2019 BY

NEW data from Roy Morgan shows there has been a large drop over the past decade in the proportion of adult Australians that gamble.

A decade ago (December 2008), nearly two thirds of the population aged over 18 (10.5 million) gambled in an average three months, but this figure was only 47.9 per cent (9.3 million) in December 2018.

The findings are from Roy Morgan’s ‘Single Source’ survey, which is based on indepth interviews conducted face-to-face with more than 50,000 consumers per year in their homes.

The biggest drop in participation over the decade was for lottery/scratch tickets, which were down 16.3 points to 40.1 per cent but remain clearly the most popular gambling category. Poker machines showed the next biggest loss, declining by 11.9 points to 13.7 per cent, followed by betting down 5.9 points to 9.4 per cent.

The overall participation in gambling is lowest for the 18-24 group with 25.7 per cent, followed by the 25-34 segment with 37.5 per cent, both well below average. The highest participation is for those aged 50-64 with 61.0 per cent and those 65 and over with 57.8 per cent.

Over the past decade, the 18-24 segment showed the biggest decline in participation, down 26.1 per cent, with all ages under 50 showing above the average decline of 16.8 per cent. By contrast, the 65 and over segment showed a much smaller decline of only 8.1 per cent.

“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,” Roy Morgan industry communications director Norman Morris said.

“Increasing warnings and publicity given to potential gambling problems may also discourage participation.

“It is interesting to note that with the ease of betting on a phone due to the rapid growth of betting apps, that more than a quarter (27.4 per cent) of people who have a bet now do so on a mobile phone, compared to only 5.3 per cent six years ago.

“Although the use of this new technology to place a bet would be expected to attract more young people to bet, this research shows that this is not the case as they have had the biggest declines.”