It’s been a tough year for gamblers in Australia, following gambling amendments and other legislation changes. From online poker rooms and casinos to lotto betting, no pastime is safe from scrutiny. Now, all of this is meant to address our ‘gambling problem’ and illegal gambling activities. New results from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey seems to support the idea that we need these measures.
However, no matter what large outlet tabloids and other media seem to think, these results can’t be taken at face value. According to the HILDA survey, 200 000 Aussies qualify as ‘problem gamblers,’ but the numbers are a little more complicated than that. After all, gambling questions were only added to the survey this year.
Gambling Habits in Australia
Let’s look at the bigger picture first. Roughly 39.1% of Aussies gambled at least once a month, with a mean monthly spend of AU$114.55. This amounts to about AU$22.7 billion according to Treasury estimates. However, the popularity of gambling skews to the 65-74 age group at 50.9% and 55-64 at 49.8%. The least active gamblers are 18-24 year olds, with men gambling 21.5% and women 12.4%.
Now, the most popular gambling games are lottos, scratch cards and pokies. On the other hand, when you look at how much is spent on these games, the top contenders change slightly. Many people enjoy scratch cards, but the amount spent on these games is the smallest in the larger picture. Poker players spend the most while gambling, with runners-up being pokies, horse racing, and casino table games.
HILDA Gambling Problem Questions
The next part of the HILDA survey used questions from the Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI) questionnaire. This is because the survey classifies behaviour into four categories. They are: non-problem gambling, low-risk, moderate-risk, and problem gambling. More so, nine questions were used with a scale from one (never) to four (almost always).
In the headlines, 1.5% of Aussie men and 0.8% of women scored as problem gamblers. The rate has stayed the same since a National Gambling Survey in 1999. Despite there being more ways to gamble than in 1999, it’s not as bad as it sounds. However, 5.6% of women and 10.3% of men scored from low-risk to high-risk. This equates to roughly 5.9% of Australia’s population, or 1.4 million people.
With gambling in general under a microscope by government officials on every level, this survey could seem quite damaging. However, it’s not all bad for online casino players and land-based gamblers. Since the problem gambling rate is lower than 29 other countries with similar surveys, Aussies need not worry. This is despite Australians spending more money on gambling than those countries.
Now, this can also be accredited to resources for gambling addicts, like the ones below. More so, Aussies can exclude themselves from activities if they feel they have a problem. For more news and guides to gambling, visit Casino Australia.
- Problem Gambling Helpline – 1 800 858 858.
- ProblemGambling.gov.au – for more information about problem gambling.
- Relationships.org.au – counselling support for AU gamblers and loved ones.