Australia’s Entertainment Core Is Gambling

Data unearthed by ReportLinker shows us that no one loves to gamble more than the Australians.

From 1998 through 2016, gambling consumption in Australia grew steadily and markedly. Just in 2016 alone it was up 7.02% from 2015, going from $1,097,000,000 to $1,174,000,000 AUD. Data going all the way back to 1959 show that a steady rise in Australian household gambling expenditures began around 1989 and then rose precipitously from 2009 through at least the second quarter of 2017.

These data aren’t merely records of the past. They square up with all indicators for near future trends. Overnight expenditures on gambling by Australians are forecasted to rise from $751 million AUD in 2017 to $837 million through 2021.

This is one reason why controversial political action is being taken by the Labor Party government, whose leader, Rebecca White, says that all of the 2,375 poker machines residing at present in 97 Tasmanian pubs and nightclubs will be removed by 2023, restricting all poker machines to licensed casinos. In 2015, Tasmanians lost $110 million AUD to poker machines.

Nationally, pubs and nightclubs in Australia host 93% of the country’s 196,000 poker machines. It’s no surprise, then, that the national gambling industry is horrified by White’s and Labor’s stance, as it doesn’t want the Tasmanian action to morph into a precedent for national action. Opponents of the action cite the fact that only 0.6% of Tasmanians are identified as problem gamblers or gambling addicts.

But, the numbers tell us that the Australians are far and away the world’s biggest gamblers. Aussies spend more than twice as much money per capita on gambling each year than either the Fins or the Americans (who rank fourth and fifth, respectively). London-based Gambling Capital industry research group estimated that Australians lost $1,279 AUD in 2014.

However, it’s not the Aussies alone doing all of the gambling in their nation. Now that the Australian mining industry is diminishing, the national economy has been turning toward tourism to bring in more jobs and revenues. And a significant part of that push involves appealing to international gamblers.

In 2016 alone, revenues from international gamblers touring Australia were up more than 17% over 2015, from $376 million AUD to $440 million AUD. Tourism output of Australian casinos has gone from $628 million AUD in 2007 to $966 million AUD through 2016. That is forecasted to rise to more than $1.2 billion AUD through 2021.

In particular, the biggest international gamblers who are attracted to Australia are the Chinese. Australian mogul James Packer and Hong Kong billionaire Tony Fung have been spearheading a movement to build lavish new resort casinos in certain parts of Australia. “Facilities of the like of Aquis Resort at The Great Barrier Reef don’t only attract the Chinese mass-market middle-class, but also the big-spending, high-value, ever-expanding Chinese upper-class,” Fung says.