This month, the Queensland Treasury released the 35th edition of their Australian Gambling Statistics report. This is a comprehensive guide to legal gambling throughout the nation, with information dating back to 1972.

Origin of the Report

This annual document dates back to Darwin’s Conference of Government Racing Officials in 1983. Later that same year, every state agreed to submit statistics in order to study the social and economic impact of gambling.

Luckily, the Queensland Treasury stepped up and volunteered to compile the massive amount of data. For the last 35 years, they’ve been crunching the numbers and releasing them to the public.

Australian Gambling in 1975-1976

In order to provide a historical prospective, let’s look at the gambling stats for Australia in 1975 through 1976. Based on the government data, I’ve ranked the states and territories from least to greatest in terms of money spent on gambling.

  • Northern Territory – Data was not available for the Northern Territory during this period.
  • Australian Capital Territory – $4.8 million
  • Tasmania – $14.92 million
  • South Australia – $39.26 million
  • Western Australia – $40.71 million
  • Queensland – $66.05 million
  • Victoria – $170.66 million
  • New South Wales – $547.12 million

These numbers add up to a grand total of $883.59 million. This was the amount spent on legal gambling during the period ranging from 1975 to 1976.

Australian Gambling in 2017-2018

Now let’s look at the most recent data for legal gambling in each state and territory. As before, the entries are ranked from least to greatest.

  • Australian Capital Territory – $242.67 million
  • Tasmania – $304.05 million
  • South Australia – $1.124 billion
  • Western Australia – $1.307 billion
  • Northern Territory – $2.203 billion
  • Queensland – $4.056 billion
  • Victoria – $5.813 billion
  • New South Wales – $9.836 billion

The nationwide total for this period was $24.887 billion.

It’s interesting to note that most of these rankings follow the overall populations of the area. In other words, the larger populations spend more on gambling each year. However, there is one exception.

The Northern Territory didn’t have statistics available from 1975 to 1978. Afterwards, they were always in a distant last place in terms of gambling expenditure. However, that changed in 2002-2003, which they surged forward. From that point on, they’ve routinely outpaced regions  such as Tasmania and the ACT.

The overall increase in Australian gambling is also worth mentioning. In just over 40 years, the nationwide expenditure has increased by more than $24 billion. That’s a massive amount.

Pokies at an Australian casino


Important Gambling Data

For your convenience, I’ve put together a list of some of the most important findings from the report. To read the complete report, please visit the website for the Queensland Government Statistician’s Office.

  • Gambling losses across Australia are up 5% from 2017 to 2018.
  • Western Australia and Tasmania actually saw decreases in gambling losses. The former was down 3.2%, while the latter decreased by 0.4%.
  • Meanwhile, New South Wales and Victoria experienced the biggest increase in gambling losses. NSW was up 3.2% to $9.8 billion, while Victoria rose 6.2% to $5.8 billion.
  • The expenditure on lotteries was up 23.6%. Meanwhile, lotto rose 11.4%.
  • Instant lottery saw an increase, rising 7.5% from 2017 to 2018.
  • Sports betting expenditure increased by 16.3%.
  • On average, the amount spent on gambling increased by 3.3% per adult. This was considered unacceptable by Tim Costello of the Alliance for Gambling Reform. According to him, “Our governments can and should do better.”
  • Racing, however, was down by 9.8%.
  • Overall gaming was down 1.4%, while casino gaming dropped a noticeable 8.4%. However, the total casino expenditure was up by 6.5%.

The Biggest Gambling Increase

You might be surprised to learn which form of gambling experienced the largest amount of growth. Well, at least I was.

That honour goes to Keno, with a massive 271.6% increase in expenditures. I’m not sure why that’s the case, but it’s a little distressing. Keno is nothing more than a guessing game, and the house definitely always has the advantage. Not the best choice if you’re looking to be an educated punter.

Additional Reading

If you’d like to read more about gambling statistics, be sure to see the following: