#2 - Gambling and Australia

Why the hell do Australians gamble so much?

#2 post! Still trying to figure out a suitable name for this newsletter and little details. So bear with me. Also my first real experience with newsletters, so I’m sorry of any growing pains.

Your time is valuable and so is mine, so let’s get into it.

Who Gambles?

Who doesn’t? Is maybe a better question.

In 2015, 6.8 million or 39% of Australian adults gambled in a typical month. Of those 6.8 million, the average expenditure in the past year was an estimated $1,272. Also, we claim the title for the highest per capita spend in the world.

Men make up 49% of Australia’s population, yet made up 54% of gamblers in 2015. It’s even more concentrated when you focus on sports betting. 88% of people who bet on sports are men. 88%! Also are of those who bet on sports, 75% of those are aged between 18-49. 

How Much?

Average Expenditure (Losses) per person - $1,292.25

Made up of: $64.13 of sports betting, $184.16 on racing (eg horses), $1,043.95 on gaming (Pokies, Casino’s and Lotto).

$24 billion lost as a country each year.

But how much overall is spent (turnover) on gambling?

Average Spend (Turnover) per person - $11,361.77

Made up of: $602.86 on sports, $1,339.68 on racing, and $9,419.22 on gaming. With the majority of that gaming figure coming from the pokies ($7,764.33).

Giving us a grand total of $218 billion in turnover per year.

Why Do We Gamble So Much?

It’s a tough one that can’t be pinned down on any one factor.

One would be availability though. Australia’s population is ranked at #55 in the world. Yet we have more pokie machines than any other country! Almost 1 machine per 100 adults it comes to.

Culture is a big point. Australians have been gambling for a long time, from Two Up to Horse racing. We love sports. Pretty well known as a sport-loving nation. And with the explosion of sports betting, it was only a matter of time. It’s what we talk about on weekends. And most mornings before the NBA games start for the day. Even when you go for a pint at the pub you’re more than likely around TAB machines.

Advertising. In 2008, the High Court determined it was unconstitutional to prohibit interstate operations by gambling operators.

This had the follow on effect of online gambling business licensed in small jurisdictions (notably the Northern Territory) could expand their operations into states where they were not licensed. Thus resulting in a mad rush for market share. Giving us the largest, constant, in your face sponsorship and advertising we’ve since seen.

In 2016 on average there were 374 gambling ads daily! Giving us lucky bastards five times the number of gambling advertisements compared to alcohol ads.

My Own Peak Degenerate Moment?

Just a fun story about my punting degeneracy.

Who doesn’t love a royal wedding? Even the bookies and degens betting have an interest. So for a laugh, I was looking through their offerings. Just the usual. Colour of the queen’s hat, what celebs would attend etc. But one caught my eye. 

Would Thomas Markle attend his daughter’s wedding? No priced at $1.10.

Well, only 30 minutes prior I had just read that he had a heart attack. How the hell could you fly from the US to London for a Royal Wedding, with all that stress, just after a heart attack?

So I max bet that one for all I could (unfortunately a max bet of $100). 

But well and truly the easiest $10 I’ve made in my life. So far.

For a little more in-depth details on gambling in Australia along with some fancy gifs and graphs, see my blog post here.

Interesting Links This Week

  • Utah Jazz and NBA contracts require more than just basketball. Here’s what else is involved. - (Article) - I like the nitty-gritty details of sports. And this one provides insight into contracts. Like the useless fact that they get paid on the 1st and 15th of every month. The more you know.

  • The making of Amazon Prime, the internet’s most successful and devastating membership program - (Article) - Amazon Prime went from an idea, to launch, in only 6 weeks!

    “The cost between the fulfillment center and the customer was about $1.50 a package. The cost by air was about $15.”

    I’ll always remember, I presented the numbers to Jeff Bezos and I said, “This is what Prime is going to cost because of the percentage by air.” And Bezos said, “You aren’t thinking correctly.”

    It was a self-fulfilling prophecy: If customers liked Prime, the demand would go up. And because the demand would go up, we had more freedom to build new fulfillment centers.

    That’s why he’s a genius and I’m just an operations guy.”


This is very much a work in progress and learning experience for me, so any feedback you might have is greatly appreciated! E.g. What day of the week do you prefer to receive these emails?

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