Pokies still Australia’s most popular gambling market

01 May, 2018 by Andy Young

New research from Roy Morgan has shown that while sports and horse race betting have a high profile, it is poker machines that still command the majority of Australia’s gambling dollar.

The research showed that pokies, including the online version, account for 56.7 per cent of all the dollars gambled in Australia, this is more than double all forms of betting at 20.7 per cent (sports betting 5.2 per cent and horse racing, harness racing and greyhounds 15.5 per cent).

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Lottery/Scratch tickets make up a further 14.2 per cent of Australia’s gambling dollars followed by Casino table games (including online) at 5.0 per cent and Keno at 3.4 per cent.

These results are drawn from the Roy Morgan Gambling Currency Reports which delves into Australian gambling habits in depth including detailed analysis of betting and sports betting, poker machines, casino table games, keno, lotteries and scratchies, and Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine says it highlights how important poker machines are to pubs and clubs across the country.

“Poker machines are a controversial part of Australia’s pubs and clubs, but there’s no doubt the machines are an important revenue source for many pubs and clubs – including for professional sporting clubs that own licensed venues with ‘pokies’,” Levine said.

“Over 2.7 million Australians aged 18+ (14.2 per cent) have used a poker machine in an average three months, significantly higher than the two million Australians (10.5 per cent) who have placed a bet on a horse race, harness race, greyhounds or sporting event covered in last week’s release.

“The popularity of poker machines is highest in Queensland (17.2 per cent of Queenslanders have played a poker machine in an average three months) and NSW/ACT (15.7 per cent). Both of these States have a strong history of licensed ‘leagues clubs’ associated with sporting teams drawing the punters in.”

Levine added: “It’s worth understanding that over three-quarters of Australia’s 200,000 poker machines are located in NSW/ACT and Queensland.

“The southern States have lower levels of penetration led by South Australia (15.3 per cent), Tasmania (14.0 per cent) and Victoria (13.3 per cent), however the laws preventing poker machines being installed in Western Australian pubs and clubs mean only 4.9 per cent of Western Australians have played a poker machine in an average three months. Poker machines in WA are restricted to Crown Casino Perth.

“There is much less of a gender imbalance for playing pokies (14.5 per cent of men aged 18+ cf. 13.8 per cent of women) than betting (13.9 per cent of men aged 18+ cf. 7.3 per cent of women) and the machines hold strong appeal for older Australians. Nearly a fifth, or 17.5 per cent, of Australians aged 65+ play pokies, clearly higher than any other age group.”