Australia saw total expenditure on gambling increase 3.9 percent in the 2015-16 period, with sports betting clocking the highest growth at 13 percent year-on-year, while casino revenue was flat, according to the 33rd edition of the Australian Gambling Statistics released on Tuesday.
Total expenditure in gambling reached A$23.6 billion (US$18.0 billion) in the year. Most of this number came from expenditure on gaming, which includes casinos, gaming machines, lottery, interactive gaming, Keno and Pools, which reached $19.8 billion – representing year-on-year growth of 3.5 percent.
Total sportsbetting expenditure clocked the highest year-on-year growth, increasing 13 percent to $920.7 million. Expenditure in casinos in the financial year ending June 2016 edged up just 0.4 percent to $5.19 billion, though spending on gaming machines, or pokies as they are known in Australia, was up 4.2 percent, to $12.07 billion.
As of end-June, Australia had 196,631 gaming machines in operation, with the majority in New South Wales and Queensland at 96,408 and 46,481 respectively.
The figures would have been mostly compiled before the June 2016 arrest of Crown Resorts employees in China, who were accused of illegally promoting gambling activities. Those arrests triggered a slump in VIP revenue in Australia’s casinos in the second half of 2016.
Meanwhile, racing expenditure increased 4.1 percent year-on-year to $2.9 billion.
Looking at per capita gambling expenditure, Australians gambled on average $1,272.80 per capita, only a slight increase from the previous year ($1,241.90)