Australian Slots Fall To $10.4 Billion In 2011February 17, 2012 12:13 pm
A recent study of gambling trends by The Roy Morgan Gambling Monitor, has shown that in 2011 the Australian total gambling spend had fallen to $17 billion, from around 19 billion in 2009.
Overall, spending on gambling was down across the board, with just sportsbetting and casino table games showing a slight increase. Commenting on the figures, Researcher Jane Ianniello said:
“Immediately after the global financial crisis [2008/9], with the stimulus package, people increased their gambling spend. But now that people are cautious and still worried about their economic situation they have cut back on their gambling expenditure.”
The study further revealed that spending on slot machines, known as pokies, was also down by a massive $2 billion to $10.4 billion compared to a year earlier. This will come as welcome news to a country in the grip of a pokies epidemic, in which around 100,000 Australians are considered addicted to the high impact machines where losses of $1200 an hour are possible.
The high social costs of pokies to communities has lead the Australian government to consider a whole slew of laws dealing with the problem, including pre-commitments by gamblers on their pokie losses and slowing down the loss rate on the pokies, themselves. These changes, however, have met fierce resistance so far from gambling groups who claim replacing the estimated 200,000 poker machines in Australia would come at a $5 billion loss to the industry.
Now, at least, the anti-gambling campaigners will take some comfort from the fact gambling in general was down throughout 2011, largely due to the decline in slot machines spend. As Jane Ianniello explains:
“..playing the pokies is becoming less popular, and with a decline in the incidence of alcohol consumption there are less Australians patronising venues like licensed clubs. The growth of online gambling, especially sports betting, has not been big enough to counter this large decline in poker machine expenditure.”