Sin Sydney? Gambling Statistics from Down Under May Surprise

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Not everyone thinks of countries like New Zealand and Australia as global centres for gambling, but an intriguing article published last year in the Economist really shows some surprising figures for those two countries.

Of course, in terms of the size of the global gambling market, the USA is still the biggest, with around 25% of all gambling revenues coming from the States. In total, the worldwide gambling market is estimated to be worth around $450 billion.

When it comes to online gambling, you may be surprised to see that it still only accounts for less than 10% of the global market, valued at $37.9 billion according to the latest Statista report. The amount of revenue generated by online gambling varies from country to country. In the US, for example, only a minute percentage is generated online thanks to its Nevada-centric gambling industry. However, in countries like Ireland, the UK and Australia it hits 33% or more.

Australia well ahead in table of per player gambling statistics

The real interesting bit comes when you compare – as the Economist does – the net loss per player. Australia is way ahead of the rest of the world in this area, averaging an annual loss of just under $1000 per person in the country annually. That’s over double the amount per person compared to the USA. Incidentally, Singapore is second on the list ($700 approx.), with Ireland ($500 approx.) coming in third.

One of the reasons cited for Australia’s huge numbers is the fact that it was one of the first major countries to deregulate gambling back in 1981. Compare that to, say, the UK, where the main legislation for deregulation came under the Labour Government’s 2005 Gambling Act. Today, both of these countries are facing crackdowns on ‘pokies’ or FOBTs (Fixed Odds Betting Terminals) which have provided huge amounts of revenue to the industry.

New Zealand operating healthy online gambling market

New Zealand is another really interesting case to look at. The Kiwis have had a longstanding, mostly positive relationship with gambling going all the way back to horse racing in the early 19th Century. Indeed, A Kiwi, George Julius, also invented the tote board (aka automatic totalisator) in 1913, which allows punters to see race information at the track.

The intriguing bit comes with online casino, where it is perfectly legal as long as the casino is operating from outside of the country. New Zealand authorities have been, rightly, commended for the safeguards put in place to protect players, including advertising restrictions.  Some well-known brands like Royal Vegas, Jackpot City and 888Casino have found a thriving market there however. For more information, check out this comprehensive guide to online casino in New Zealand, which will provide you with impartial reviews, bonus information and more details on the market there.

Restriction of FOBTs may change market share in future

What do we learn from all this? Well, it is simply more than just stating that different countries have different gambling trends. Places like the UK and Australia with a high number of FOBTs will have a large amount of per player losses attributed to those machines, outstripping that of the online casino market. There is also the case of New Zealand, a country that seems to have struck a decent balance between safety and player freedom.

However, when it comes to a global perspective the big question is what will happen next? And that, of course, goes back to the United States. The small percentage of revenue gained through online gambling will surely change if and when there is more deregulation in US gambling laws.  Gambling operators, many of whom are preparing the way for future entry to the US market, are holding their breath for that one.

Image By Lobster1, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=37449872



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