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Pokies still the ‘King’ of gambling in Australia

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source Australia, January 2017 - December 2017. Base: Australians aged 18+. n=14,422.
Australia’s gambling industry is valued in the tens of billions of dollars and although sports and horse race betting has a high profile given the millions of Australians that watch premium events such as the AFL Grand Final (8.4m Australians in 2017) and NRL Grand Final (6.5m Australians in 2017), it is the pokies that still command the majority of the gambling dollar.

Poker machines, including online, comprise a majority of 56.7% of all the dollars gambled in Australia – easily more than double all forms of betting at 20.7% including sports betting (5.2%) and horse racing, harness racing and greyhounds (15.5%) of the overall gambling pie.

A detailed breakdown of Australia’s betting habits was covered extensively in last week’s release on Australia’s betting habits available to view here.

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

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.

Australian gambling market – December 2017

Australian gambling market - December 2017

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source Australia, January 2017 - December 2017. Base: Australians aged 18+. n=14,422.

Michele Levine, CEO, says poker machines are an important source of revenue for pubs and clubs around much of Australia (although not WA) and the over 200,000[1] installed really do deliver ‘rivers of gold’ to proprietors:

“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’.

“Over 2.7 million Australians aged 18+ (14.2%) have used a poker machine in an average three months, significantly higher than the 2 million Australians (10.5%) 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% of Queenslanders have played a poker machine in an average three months) and NSW/ACT (15.7%). Both of these States have a strong history of licensed ‘leagues clubs’ associated with sporting teams drawing the punters in.

“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%), Tasmania (14.0%) and Victoria (13.3%), however the laws preventing poker machines being installed in Western Australian pubs and clubs mean only 4.9% 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% of men aged 18+ cf. 13.8% of women) than betting (13.9% of men aged 18+ cf. 7.3% of women) and the machines hold strong appeal for older Australians. Nearly a fifth, or 17.5%, of Australians aged 65+ play pokies, clearly higher than any other age group.”

[1] Australian poker machine numbers are drawn from

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