An August 2018 report by the New York Times showed Australians still gamble more than any other nationility on Earth.
Roy Morgan Research recently released an Australian gambling report which showed a decline in pokies gaming over the past decade. Researchers for Roy Morgan conducted research on 7,000 Aussie gamblers in December 2018 and the results are surprising.
The study pointed out that a December 2008 survey showed that 65% of Australians showed an interest in gambling. By December 2017, the percentage of Aussie gambling enthusiasts dropped to 50%.
In last December’s survey, only 48% of Australian respondents said they were interested in gambling. That is a 2% decline over the past year and a whopping 17% decline over the past 11 years.
H2 Gambling Capital points out that Australians still boast the highest level of gambling participation of any country in the world. Also, Aussies spend more per capita each year on gambling, with over $1,110 per gambler.
Mobile Gambling Increased
The survey’s results are surprising because recent studies suggested that Australian mobile phone gambling increased over the same time. Furthermore, researchers contended in 2016 and 2017 studies that youth gambling appeared to be on the rise.
Analysts gave a couple of explanations for the contradictory data.
Reasons Aussie Gambling Declined
First, the rise of mobile gaming is a part of a wider phenomenon. While more people use smartphones for gambling, that corresponds to a rise in smartphone usage in general. The use of desktop and laptop devices for gambling declined over the same time.
Also, smartphone users seek out other forms of entertainment. Many game enthusiasts prefer social gaming sites or free-play casino games. Still others use their phone for entertainment, but prefer watching videos or texting with friends.
Still others gamble on the go, but switch to other forms of entertainment. Their gambling “attention span” is shorted by the use of smartphones, and the many forms of entertainment they offer. Over the past decade, Australians are on the go more often, so they don’t have as much leisure time.
Fewer Offshore Gambling Sites
Preferences and lifestyle changes were not the only explanations. A crackdown on offshore online gambling hurt the Australian gaming industry as a whole. The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) sought to eliminate Aussie usage of illegal offshore gaming sites.
Because ACMA coordinated with regulators in New Jersey, Canada, and the United Kingdom, its crackdown was much more successful than previous attempts had been. Yet Australians who lost access to offshore betting sites through IP blocks simply stopped gaming. They didn’t switch to domestic Australian betting sites, which are seen as inferior.
In many ways, they are. Australian gaming operators pay taxes on their revenues, where offshore sites don’t. The foreign companies can offer better odds on bookmaker bets, charge lower rakes on poker, and have lower house edges on their casino games — and still make the same profit.
Gaming Monopolies and Duopolies
Also, domestic Australian gaming operators have gotten used to being pampered by Aussie politicians. Most exist in state-mandated monopolies or duopolies. They prospered without having to beat the competition, so their products naturally became less customer-friendly over the years.
Everything isn’t the fault of the domestic companies, because they’ve faced their own setbacks. And in several states, as the offshore operators were being driven off, the states imposed 8% to 15% Point-of-Consumption (POCT) taxes on the domestic operators. When those taxes are passed on to the customers, it means the overall gambling product degrades.
As readers can see, a wide range of factors account for the decline in Australian gambling participation over the past decades. One explanation we’d like to see is why the interest in gambling is less. It is one thing to be interested in Australian gambling, but decide the value isn’t there.
Yet 17% more Australians in 2019 are less interested in gambling than they were in 2008. Is that due to lesser products, more regulations, or bad experiences gambling? Do other factors determine the declining level of interest? Or is it a demographic shift, where millennials simply don’t enjoy gaming as much as Baby Boomers — who are now less of a percentage of Australian society?
Australians need further studies to determine why Australian gamblers are less interested in pokies than they were 11 years ago.