Australians gambling less, young show biggest decline, report finds

There has been a large drop in the number of Australians who gamble, falling to 47.9 percent of the population, or 9.3 million, compared with almost two thirds of adults a decade ago, according to a survey Roy Morgan.

At the end of 2017, 50.1 percent of Australians reported gambling in an average three months, indicating the downward trend is continuing.

The survey is based on face-to-face interviews with more than 50,000 consumers in their homes, including detailed questioning of more than 7,000 gamblers. It began in 2002.

This year’s survey found that  there has been a decline in participation in all types of gaming, though the biggest drop was for lottery and scratch tickets, which are the most popular gaming category. The participation rate declined 16.3 percentage points to 40.1 percent.

Those playing pokies dropped by 11. 9 percentage points to 13.7 percent, followed by betting down 5.9 points to 9.4 percent.

Younger Australians were the least inclined to gamble, with participation in the 18 to 24-year age group at just 25.7 percent, followed by the 25 to 34 segment at 37.5 percent. The highest participation is for those aged 50 to 64 with 61.0 percent and those 65 and over with 57.8 percent.

“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. Increasing warnings and publicity given to potential gambling problems may also discourage participation,” said Roy Morgan’s director of industry communications, Norman Morris.

“It is interesting to note that with the ease of betting on a phone due to the rapid growth of betting apps, that over a quarter (27.4 percent) of people who have a bet now do so on a mobile phone, compared to only 5.3 percent 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.”