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'Pokies' Drive Australia's Growing Gambling Market

Half Of Country's Gambling Market Comes From Gambling Machines


Australia’s gambling market grew six percent in 2015 to the equivalent of roughly $17.4 billion USD (A$24.1 billion).

Given the country’s population of roughly 23 million, that means that Australians spend more on gambling than people anywhere else in the world, according to Bloomberg.

An estimated 80 percent of Australian citizens gamble in some form, also the highest rate in the world. Electronic gaming machines, known in Australia as “pokies,” are driving the growth, even though bingo, sports betting and the lottery are popular there. Playing online pokies is also available, though less widespread than in-person machines because online gambling in Australia is still regulated by a patchwork of state and federal laws.

A report from The Guardian said that Internet gambling is the fastest-growing segment of the country’s gambling market, increasing at a 15-percent clip year-over-year. It’s worth about seven percent of the entire gambling market.

According to a report from USA Today, about half of the country’s gambling market belongs to the pokies. As of 2014, there was a machine for every 108 people in Australia. Gambling represents 1.2 percent of Australia’s GDP.

In the United State it is about 0.8 percent.

The Australian state New South Wales is actually home to more gambling machines than anywhere else in the world outside of Nevada. Though, according to The Gaming Technologies Association, the Silver State has roughly double the gambling machines of NSW. Nevada’s gambling machines generate about 60 percent of gaming win.

According to a report this month from The Sydney Morning Herald, one of the world’s leading casino games manufacturers is experiencing great growth thanks to, in large part, Australian bettors.

Aristocrat Leisure, which is based out of Sydney, has seen its revenue from Australia and New Zealand increase by more than 60 percent so far in 2016. The $213 million in revenue makes up 20 percent of the company’s sales. Its revenue from the Americas accounts for 60 percent of its business, but sales in Australia and New Zealand are growing at nearly triple the rate.

Australian pubs, clubs and casinos with the gambling machines have welcomed new products from Aristocrat recently. Aristocrat is arguably the second largest company of its kind behind U.S.-based IGT.