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Top 20% of gamblers spend 87% of total gambling dollars

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), April 2013 – March 2014 (n=9,107).
Most of the money spent on gambling in Australia is spent by a minority of gamblers. Although heavy gamblers[1] make up only 20% of the country’s gamblers, they account for almost 90% of the total annual gambling spend of $16.3 billion, according to the March 2014 results from the Roy Morgan Gambling Monitor. 

Medium gamblers make up 40% of gamblers but only 11% of total annual spend, and light gamblers also make up 40% of gamblers but just 1% of spend.

Heavy/medium/light gamblers: percentage of gamblers vs percentage of spend

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), April 2013 – March 2014 (n=9,107). NB: Average three-month gambling spend is $330+ for heavy gamblers, $45–$329.99 for medium gamblers, and less than $45 for light gamblers.

Jane Ianniello, International Director of Tourism, Travel & Leisure, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“The fact that the bulk of Australia’s gambling revenue is generated from just 20% of gamblers illustrates that although heavy and even problem gamblers certainly exist, most Australians are not big spenders when it comes to gambling. Light gamblers tend to be those who buy lottery tickets (81%) and an occasional scratch ticket (26%) in an average three-month period but rarely partake in other types of gambling. By contrast, heavy gamblers participate in many types of gambling, especially poker machines (80%), lottery tickets (69%), and betting (40%).

“Roy Morgan Research’s ground-breaking new profiling tool, Helix Personas, can assist governments and other organisations to identify and understand heavy gamblers.

“For instance Battlers are more likely than other communities to be heavy gamblers, especially those belonging to the Strugglestreet persona (19% of whom are heavy gamblers vs 11% of the population 18+).  Strugglestreet is a group who are doing it tough on low incomes or government benefits. They are usually renting and some have young families to support; those that gamble may well do so in the hope of winning a much-needed windfall that would solve all their financial problems.”

For comments or more information please contact:

Jane Ianniello, International Director of Tourism, Travel & Leisure
Office: +61 (7) 3318 7000
Mobile:  +61 423 024 412

Related research reports

Learn more about Helix Personas, Roy Morgan's new classification system for Australia's multi-dimensional communities.

The Roy Morgan Gambling Currency Report provides an overview of the gambling industry, measuring size of total gambling market and its 3 main components: Gaming, Wagering and Lotteries/ Scratch tickets, and changes over time. The report also looks at participation, cross-category participation and internet usage.

Click here to view our Gambling Industry Reports, including Gambling Trends which examines current and future trends driving Australia’s gambling sector with a focus on leisure and gambling trends, including participation in traditional leisure activities and gambling incidence, methods, expenditure and frequency.

Click here to view our extensive range of Gambling Profiles, including visitor profiles for gambling venues across Australia. These profiles provide a broad understanding of the target audience in terms of demographics, attitudes, activities and media usage in Australia.

About Roy Morgan Research

Roy Morgan Research is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices in each state of Australia, as well as in New Zealand, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan Research has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

In Australia, Roy Morgan Research is considered to be the authoritative source of information on financial behaviour, readership, voting intentions and consumer confidence. Roy Morgan Research is a specialist in recontact customised surveys which provide invaluable and effective qualitative and quantitative information regarding customers and target markets.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%


























[1] There are 1.9 million heavy gamblers in Australia, which represents 20% of Australians who have gambled in the last three months, and 11% of the total adult population 18+ years of age.