gambling in australia - facts and statistics

Gambling Statistics: The Good, The Bad & The Very Ugly

These are the frightening statistics that tell a different story to the one the media and your government would have you believe- and sadly they are not improving. But even more frightening is the fact that with the guidance and support of ClubsNSW and the NSW Government things are steadily getting worse.  And how long will our government stand by counting their money before something is done to reverse this trend and reduce the alarming numbers we so sadly have to report here? – Sadly if this article and supporting documents are anything to go by, not anytime soon.

Let’s take a look at the numbers and see the true cost of pokies and problem gambling in this country

Poker Machines in the Money

pokies take how much money each year
  • The most money lost to pokies in one day was recorded back in 2011 when Aussies managed to lose a whopping $11.9 million in a 24 hour period
  • The amount of money lost to pokies and Electronic gaming devices in the last decade is over $25 billion! – that’s an average of $2.5 billion each year!
  • Total losses for the 2011-2012 financial year were $2.6 billion with the state government gaining over $1 billion in pokie machine tax
  • The average poker machine earns a very healthy income of around $250,000 per year, 5 times more than the national average wage.

*This certainly helps explain why Len Ainsworth, the founder of Aristocrat and later Ainsworth Gaming Technology has a net worth in the billions and recently sold the controlling interest of Aristocrat Gaming for $473 Million.  Learn more about the sale and Aristocrat gaming here –> Len Ainsworth and Aristocrat Gaming


Why The Government is Doing the Hokey Pokey

  • Electronic gaming machines account for 62 per cent of gambling expenditure. They account for 75 per cent to 80 per cent of problem gamblers.
  • Annual gaming machine losses per player average about $3,700 in New South Wales, $3,100 in Victoria and $1,800 in Queensland.
  • Electronic gaming machines are the dominant source of gambling revenue. This is despite the fact that most Australians do not play them at all. (Specifically, 70 per cent to 75 per cent of adults surveyed indicated they do not use them in any given year).
  • There were 198,300 electronic gaming machines in Australia in 2009.
  • Annual revenue per electronic gaming machine was around $59,700 in 2008-09, with average revenue per venue around $2.1 million. – which means the average pokie has received a payrise of over 400% over the past 5 years (initial statistics from 2014)*

*Now I like to think I am pretty damn good at my job, I’m efficient, courteous and I get along with the people that matter – and yet I can only boast a pay increase of around 30% during that same period – and don’t get me wrong, I ain’t complaining… well I wasn’t before discovering this statistic anyway!

Australians Love a Poke!

While the rest of the world (excluding Singapore – who are all expat British and Aussie anyway let’s be honest) manages to control their gambling and average spend on lottery and related gambling activities, the good folk of Australia, yep that’s us – are managing to spend nearly double everyone else – well actually more than double most of them. We may be twice the size – and twice as good at Rugby as New Zealand (oh yeah, I went there) but that doesn’t mean we need to spend twice as much on gambling and pokies?!!

australians spend more gambling than the rest of the world
Australia you need to calm down. No really! I mean there’s having a punt and then there’s flat out taking the piss – and it seems that as a nation we are taking the piss…out of ourselves and ruining a perfectly good afternoon in the process. If Alf was here he would chuck a wobbly, stone a flaming crow and tell us all what a pack of useless Galahs we are. (And then Morgan Freeman would show up and say “he’s right you know” and we’d all feel rather silly. )

So let’s avoid all of that and just stop being so mental with the pokies – the offline ones anyway! They pay worse, they provide less bonuses and features AND they have a return to player (RTP) rate that is upwards of 10% worse than their online cousins. Take my word for it – playing online pokies is not only more enjoyable and provide better payout returns, it also means you won’t have to deal with Alf or Morgan Freeman…. although Morgan did just call to say “He’s right you know” – because I totally am!


This is What We Are Spending Across NSW

Note that the areas with the most machines, including but not limited to Cessnock, Lake Macquarie, Maitland, Port Stephens and Newcastle are all low to middle income demographics and areas where problem gambling is already having a significantly negative effect on the community as a whole.

“the gambling industry has pressed home its advantage by extracting further concessions to increase its profits, guarantee its further expansion, and increase the misery of the estimated 115,000 mainly low-income Australians with a serious gambling addiction – one mostly caused by the pokies.” – Charles Livingstone, Monash University

When looking at the turnover per machine for these selected ClubsNSW run “Fake RSLs” you will notice the average is far greater than the national average of $250,000 per machine. This indicates that the return to player or payout rates on ClubsNSW pokies are even worse than the national average – which in itself is already significantly worse than the RTP (Return to Player Rate) that you can expect online – which for the record is anywhere from 93 to 97% (vs. the legal minimum of 86% for bricks and mortar casinos and Pubs/Clubs across the country.

footy tipping beats playing pokies - Copy

Spend across Victorian Clubs – because Footy yo.

what we spend on pokies per location in nsw

Spend across Fake RSL Clubs NSW Clubs


What is the Cost of Gambling on Society?

total social cost of problem gambling - Copy



  • Total recorded losses through gambling in Australia reached just over $19 billion in 2008–09 (an average of $1,500 per gambler and a share of household consumption of 3.1 per cent).
  • One in six people who play the pokies regularly has a severe gambling problem.
  • People who have a problem with their gambling lose an average of $21,000 a year. That’s a third of the average annual salary. Hard earned money that would otherwise be used to pay bills, pay off the mortgage or take holidays with the kids.
  • But it’s not just about the money. It’s the harm to themselves and their family. Problem gamblers suffer mental and physical health problems, find it difficult to hold down a job, and struggle to maintain relationships.
  • For many families, perhaps the biggest loss is the quality of time together, which can never be recovered. People with gambling problems are six times more likely than non gamblers to get divorced. They are four times more likely to suffer from alcohol abuse.
  • Regular gaming machine players (those that play at least once a week) are estimated to spend on average about $7,000 to $8,000 per annum.
  • ‘High-intensity’ punters can spend $1500 or more in an hour.
  • The harms from problem gambling can include suicide, depression, relationship breakdown, lowered work productivity, job loss, bankruptcy and crime.
  • A 2008 survey found that gambling was the most common motivation for fraud and that the average loss was $1.1 million per incident.
  • The rough count of people directly affected ignores the ‘ripple effects’ of problem gambling. For each problem gambler, several others are affected — including family members, friends, employers and colleagues.

So extensive are the impacts that the social cost of problem gambling to the community is estimated to be at least $4.7 billion each year. (Read more at

annual gambling spend 2014 - roy morgan gambling monitor

annual gambling spend 2014 – roy morgan gambling monitor

Gambling Helpline Logo (ONWHITE)_569x152

While impossible to be definitive, the commission estimates that in 2008-09:

  • The benefits from tax revenue and enjoyment of gambling for recreational gamblers ranged between $12.1 billion and $15.8 billion.
  • The costs to problem gamblers ranged between $4.7 billion and $8.4 billion and the overall net benefits ranged between $3.7 billion and $11.1 billion.
  • The Productivity Commission report states the net benefits could be much larger if governments reduced costs through effective prevention and harm minimisation policies.

The image below shows exactly how much is being spent by governments (in this case VIC GOV) for the ‘Prevention/treatment of problem gambling and associated addictions’ – a whooping 0.1%. If Pauline Hanson was here you totally know what she would say.

how much do RSL clubs contribute to community

Read more and get all the latest statistics here

Why Does My Local Club Keep Adding More Pokies If It’s Such a Growing Problem?

Yes well! First I highly recommend you read this article to get some insight into just how corrupt the clubs and NSW Government are and how wide spread this ‘infection’ actually is. – Take a Stand against your Fake RSL Club

To put it simply – money. It seems that while we enjoy the occasional punt, the NSW Government – especially the NSW Government is enjoying the longest running, most consistently paying progressive jackpot in history – and unless you have an arguement that is more valid than the $5 billion plus they make from gambling related tax revenue each and every year they simply won’t listen.

Sadly the costs associated with problem gambling are also steadily rising but until this figure is higher than the amount being generated from gambling related activities OR in laymans terms – when the government stops making a profit they might start looking at the bigger picture and seeing what they can actually do to improve life for the 1 in 6 Australians with a gambling problem of some form.

[Statistics from Gambling in Australia: The State of Play]

Gambling industry revenue

tax revenue from pokies and gambling

  • Total gambling revenue in 2008-09 in Australia was just over $19 billion.
  • The industry structure has changed. In 1986-87, the gaming machine and casino share of spending on gambling was 40 per cent but by 2006-07, that figure rose to 75 per cent.
  • Casinos derive 78 per cent of their revenue from gambling, clubs gain 61 per cent of their revenue and hotels 28 per cent.
  • The 12 biggest clubs in NSW had gaming machine revenue of $580 million in 2007.
  • In 2008-09, gaming was provided by 5,700 pubs and clubs.

Gambling and state revenue

  • State tax revenue from gambling was $5 billion in 2008–09 (or 10 per cent of all state tax revenue).
  • Victoria has the highest tax dependence on gambling, at 13 per cent, and Western Australia has the lowest, 4 per cent.

Online gambling

  • The 2010 Productivity Report found that online gaming appears to have grown rapidly and could amount to almost $800 million.
  • It found that online gambling websites offer gamblers better prices and more variety.

Check out our Online Gambling & Casino Resources Page for a detailed list of recommended Casinos, games and tips to maximising your time and money when enjoying your first punt via the PC 😉