If you were wondering which country is top of the charts for betting, you might be surprised. In no particular order, here are some fun facts about Australian gambling.
Four out of Five Aussies Bet
Australia has the highest rate of gambling in the world. An official survey in 2013 found that about 80% of the adult population wagers in one form or another. Or, to put it another way, just one in five do not. In the 2015-16 financial year, gambling provided 12% of the Northern Territory's taxation revenue.
Betting in Oz goes back Centuries
Registered clubs opened the first legal poker machines in 1956, but the first official horse races were held way back in 1810. Given how young the nation is, that's quite a long time.
Fun Fact: Pokies are Ultra-Popular
Betting machines are especially popular in the antipodes, where a fifth of all the electronic gambling machines in the world can be found. Indeed, these machines have their own Aussie colloquialism: 'pokies'. And half of those reside just in New South Wales, the state where betting is most frequent. Speaking of poker, about two out of five adults in Australia play it. Perhaps that isn't surprising, given how popular the pokies are.
Betting per head is nearly $11,000
Adults in Australia bet more per capita than any other country in the world. And that's not just in one area, it includes sports betting, poker, brick and mortar casinos, and online casinos.
In 2016, Australians lost a total of $18.3bn through betting. Per head, that comes to nearly $990, and is the highest per capita figure in the world, double the average for a Western country. The next in line is Singapore, but that's nearly 40% behind.
In 2016-17, the total wagered in Australia was a staggering $209bn, which amounts to almost $11,000 per person and makes Australia far and away the biggest betting nation on Earth. To put that in context, it'd be over three trillion dollars if the same wagering rate existed in the United States.
Of this, the vast majority comes in the casinos, electronic games, and lotteries category, that makes up $174.6bn of the total
Australian Gambling is still mostly Men
Probably not surprising, but eight out of nine gamblers in Oz are men. Given that women are more risk averse, or men are more reckless, this isn't too much of a shock (hence the Darwin Awards also being male-dominated). However, an increasing number of Australian women are getting interested in betting.
It's intriguing that the Land Down Under enjoys wagers so much, even compared to similar Western nations. Perhaps it's because the distances are so large the convenience mobile gambling provides is even handier in Oz than it is in countries in Europe and North America.