Gambling is a popular pastime for many people around the world. Betting and other forms of gambling date back hundreds and even thousands of years in various cultures. Australia is one such country that has embraced gambling with open arms. From playing pokies and table games to making bets on everything from sports to family members, Aussies have made gambling one of their favorite pastimes.

Today, it’s pretty easy for people to gamble no matter where in the world they live. The growing popularity of online casinos makes it easy to partake in various games without leaving home. Gambling is a popular pastime in many places because it reduces stress, is fun and exciting, can be a good way to meet other people and win money at the same time, and can even be a great way for people to pass the time when they’re bored.

While it’s pretty well-known that Australian’s love to gamble, gambling facts and figures in AU are something of a mystery. Most people don’t go out of their way to find the facts. Have you ever wondered exactly how many people gamble in Australia and how much they spend? Do you know when gambling began in Australia? Here, we’ll uncover 15 interesting Australian gambling facts you never knew before.


The Majority of Aussies Love to Gamble

According to a 2013 official study, Australians are the biggest gamblers in the world. 80% of the population in Australia participates in gambling in various forms.


Aussies Bet Big

They bet more money per capita than any other country in sports betting, poker, online casinos, land based casinos and other forms of gambling combined. Australians collectively spend $18 billion per year on gambling.


Australians are Big Losers (but not the Biggest)

On average, the majority of gamblers in Australia lose between $350 and $12,000 per year. However, they bet big and play more than many other countries, so they’re far from being the biggest losers. They’re trumped by American players who lose more money gambling than any other country.


The Australian Government is the Real Winner

The Australian government reaps the highest reward from gambling. They earn billions of dollars in gambling taxes from casinos each year.


Australia is Home to Hundreds of Thousands of Gaming Machines

Australia is home to 20% of the electronic gaming machines in the world with at least 200,000 slot machines in the country. Approximately 100,300 of those can be found in New South Wales, which is the state most renowned for gambling.


Almost Half of Australian Adults Prefer to Play Poker

40% of Australian adults prefer to play poker, which has a payout percentage average that ranges from 90% to 92%.


Australia’s Largest Poker Win went to an American

During the 2012 World Series of Poker, Antonio Esfandiari from the United States won over $23 million in AU dollars in a charity tournament called The Big One for One Drop. The entry fee for the game alone was $1 million. Esfandiari’s win doubled the lifetime earnings of Joe Hachem, the former world champion from Australia.


Poker Machines in Australia can be Risky

There are more high-loss poker machines per capita in Australia than in any other country. Per hour, the average maximum loss rate is $720 in Australia. When compared with the figures for New Zealand ($156 per hour), the United Kingdom ($130 per hour) and Japan ($52 per hour), Australia’s losses are huge. The only country that comes close to matching them is the
United States, at $705 per hour.


There’s an Unexpected Monopoly on Poker Machines in Australia

The biggest entity that owns and operates poker machines in Australia is Woolworths. The popular supermarket chain owns and operates more than 11,000 poker machines across the country. This amounts to more poker machines than the six largest casinos in Las Vegas combined. Woolworths earns over $200 million every year from gaming.


Online Casinos Have Been Around for Decades

Australians have been enjoying the convenience of gambling from home for more than 20 years. Online casinos launched for the first time in Australia in 1994. This was made possible by laws passed in Barbuda and Antigua, who issued the first licenses for online gambling. To this day, the online gambling companies in Australia still operate under the Caribbean government’s regulations.


There’s a Jackpot Cap in Australian Casino Pubs

The highest jackpot amount a person can win while playing in an Australian casino pub is $10,000. The payout percentage of any slot machine in the country is under 100%, which means that the longer a person plays, the more money they will lose..


Slot Machines have a Long History in Australia

Slot machines are called pokies in Australia, and the first one was created in 1895. Back then, the reels included the American liberty bell, a horseshoe, a star, a diamond, a heart and a spade. The jackpot won players 50 cents for hitting three liberty bells.


The One that Got Away

One of the world’s largest casino scams was carried out by an Australian player who got away with $32 million by manipulating a venue’s surveillance system. The player’s identity is still unknown, though it’s believed that he was a regular VIP player at the casino who would play high stakes games.


Aboriginal Gamblers vs. Non-Aboriginal Gamblers

Aboriginal people are more inclined to gamble than non-Aboriginal people. The percentage of problem gamblers is several times higher within the Aboriginal population than with non-Aboriginals. This problem can be linked with their socio-economic disadvantages, with Aboriginals having about half the money than non-Aboriginals as well as a higher unemployment rate. Studies have proven that problem gambling becomes more of an issue in people who have such socio-economic disadvantages.


Some Australians Even Place Bets on Family Members

Australians even bet on their family members. In 2000, Peter Edwards, a Welshman, made a bet with his family that his grandson (an infant at the time) would grow up to represent Australia in soccer. He ended up winning over $240,000 in 2013 when his grandson, Harry Wilson, made his soccer debut in Wales.

Far from the Final Word

We bet you never knew about these interesting Australia gambling facts. Impress your friends by sharing some of them, or use some of them to your advantage the next time you’re gambling in Australia. In a country full of people who love to gamble, these are just some of the many facts and figures out there. If we’ve piqued your interest, feel free to do some further research to learn more, or share some with us that we didn’t include here.