Internet Gambling ‘Down Under’

In Australia online gambling is in a legal grey area. The Interactive Gambling Act of 2001 targets operators and makes it illegal for them to offer interactive services to Australians. The government passed the act using the guise of ‘protecting the public.’ It is not illegal for Australians to play at online casinos. Sportsbetting online is legal in the country. Since Australia is a former British colony bingo is a popular game. Many in the rural outback play internet bingo and other casino games to relieve boredom. Despite the law the Australian internet gambling market is growing. A research project by the University of Sydney and Southern Cross University resulted in the ‘Australian Gambling Survey’ which is an ongoing project.

The survey covered demographics, technology and the behaviors of Australian gamblers. The survey is available to anyone over the age of 18 and can also be found online. Results were first published in 2011 and provided some very interesting statistics. The survey found that 92% of Australians who gamble on the internet are male. Online gamblers are more likely to be male than those playing at brick and mortar casinos. About 67% of the population in Australia is male.

Online gambling is more popular among males between the age of 35 to 49 (34.8%). Those 50 to 60 accounted for 34.4% of all players. Online gambling is most popular among those in the 18 to 24 age group. 65% of all players are employed full time and 16% make over $150,000 a year. The study also covered the reasons that some gamblers prefer to play online rather than at land based casinos. 62% of those surveyed said they like the convenience of not having to leave their homes to gamble and 54% said that the 24/7 availability of games was a big attraction.  35% said that they did not like to deal with the crowds at casinos and 33% said that privacy and anonymity were factors in their decision to play online. Only 2% said they played online because land based gambling was unavailable or illegal.

Those surveyed were also asked to describe the disadvantages of gambling online. Players said that the chief disadvantage was that online gambling is ‘too convenient.’ They also said it is easier to spend more money when gambling online. Some players said they miss the social environment found at casinos. Researchers play to do more work to provide a better understanding of the Australian internet gambling market.