Aussies Gambling Expenditures Increase During The Pandemic
Compared to the previous lockdown, the increase in weekly online and offline gambling expenses grew from 298.3 index points at the end of 2020 to 384.4 as of September this year.
Unfortunately, the study did not consider online and offline gambling industries separately, making it difficult to draw detailed conclusions about the success of a particular segment. However, the Chief Executive Officer of Illion Simon Bligh noted that online casinos were the obvious drivers of such growth. This is because, in the most populous states like Victoria and New South Wales, all land-based casinos, nightclubs, cafes, restaurants, and other types of entertainment have been closed almost all the time. “There really is not anywhere else to blow your cash in Sydney and Melbourne if you want a quick entertainment hit,” Bligh says.
Andrew Charlton, former Managing Director of AlphaBeta, highlighted that many Australians were first introduced to online gambling during the quarantine period. “They have discovered there is a poker machine in their pocket,” says Charlton. He believes that life in four walls and the lack of other options for spending money contributed to the choice in favor of online gambling.
Despite the popularity of such entertainment among locals, the provision of online gambling services is prohibited by Australian law. The only exceptions are made for lottery and sports betting. At the same time, Australian players easily bypass this restriction by registering on foreign or offshore gaming platforms. Thus, the measures taken by the authorities to minimize problem gambling are practically nullified. Perhaps the explosive growth of the industry and the evident investigations will encourage the Australian government to legalize gambling fully and, at the same time, bring additional funds to the national budget.
The report by Illion and AlphaBeta was the second significant analysis of the Australian gambling industry during the pandemic. The first research was published at the beginning of Spring 2020. It showed that shortly after the first lockdown, the popularity of online gambling in Australia had grown by more than 65%.