Australia Sees Significant Rise for Sports Betting in 2017

Australia Sees Significant Rise for Sports Betting in 2017

By Contributor | December 21st, 2017

Sports betting spend in Australia is on the up according to the 33rd annual Australian Gambling Statistics report. Focusing on the country’s betting habits from 2015 to 2016, the government report showed that Aussies are now spending AU$24 billion on everything from pokies and casino games to sports betting!

Pokies Still King

As ever, the leading revenue generators across Australia are poker machines. Although estimates vary, there are now approximately 200,000 pokies in Australia. Aside from that being enough games for every 114 residents, that’s the largest selection of poker machines anywhere in the world, including Las Vegas.

With more ways to play than ever before, it’s little wonder that spending has reached record levels. As outlined in the latest gambling revenue report, Aussies wagered $12 billion on the gaming machines between 2015 and 2016. In comparative terms, that figure is a 4.2% increase on the period covering 2014 and 2015.

Sports Betting Burns the Brightest

While pokies continued to dominate the market and generate 50% of the industry’s total revenue, sports betting was the breakout performer. Despite a recent change to the online betting laws in Australia, sports betting revenue improved by 13% during the most recent accounting period.

Companies across the country generated $920 million worth of activity. This jump was by far the largest in the industry and one that sits in stark contrast to the live casino scene. Although casinos didn’t lose money, the 33rd annual Australian Gambling Statistics report shows that growth was less than 1%.

Australia’s casinos generated $5.1 billion between 2015 and 2016, which was a 0.4% year-on-year improvement. One company that’s felt the effects of a slow down in casino betting is Crown Resorts. Marked as one of the largest betting brands in Australia, Crown saw net profit drop by 15.5% in recent months.

Publishing a full-year report in August 2017, Crown’s annual profit almost doubled to $1.9 billion, though $1.6 billion of that figure came through the sale of its business interests in Macau not long before the report. Excluding that revenue, the casino operator saw net profits fall to $343.1 million.

Casino Revenue Stalls but VIP Return Could Reinvigorate

For Crown and other casinos in the region, a lack of VIP activity has contributed to the drop in earnings. With China cracking down on gambling activity and fewer tourists travelling to Australia to play for high stakes, revenue from VIPs has fallen. For Crown in particular, turnover was cut by 48.9% during the latest accounting period.

However, recent forecasts have suggested that it might be set for a revival in the coming year. Analysts at Morgan Stanley have predicted that Crown and its main competitor, Star Entertainment, will see increases in VIP turnover between now and 2020, an extremely promising prediction for the brands.

In a review published in November 2017, analysts at the company said that new gaming facilities and a more relaxed policy on travel visas for Chinese tourists would lift the market. Current estimates suggest the market could grow by 9% in the short term and by as much as 20% in the next three years. If this proves to be the case, casino revenue could experience larger gains than we’ve seen in recent reports.

Poker on the Up but Pokies Continue to Dominate

Beyond traditional forms of gambling, poker also appears to be thriving. Although the latest report doesn’t note statistics on poker specifically, tactic evidence from the Aussie Millions suggests that participation is on the up. Following a drop in the number of entrants, the most recent tournaments have seen improvements.

Indeed, in the last two years, an average of 728 players have taken part in the country’s premier poker tournament, which suggests Aussies are willing to ante up on almost anything. At this point the Australian betting market is clearly still gripped by poker machines as they slowly pick up a new love for sports betting.

With the Australian Gambling Research Centre reporting that 6.8 million people now ante up each month, the annual spend on these games is only likely to increase. With the average punter currently spending around AU$838 every year, the industry is certainly buoyant and more than capable of positing further improvements in 2018!

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