Australian Gambling Activity: Past, present and future trends

Current project

National trends in gambling participation, expenditure and problems are examined in this project.


Australia regularly ranks as the largest spending nation per capita on gambling products in the world, and record level revenues continue to be reported by the gambling industry. Electronic gaming machines (EGMs), casino gaming, and race wagering together account for almost ninety percent of money spent on gambling, and all three products are implicated in a greater likelihood of participation and expenditure leading to gambling problems when compared to other products.

While this is so, it is not known how many Australians actually gamble on these as well as other less risky products, or how much consumers spend on average, or what proportion of their disposable income this constitutes, or how many experience adverse consequences. Such knowledge is fundamental to monitoring national gambling activity, developing and evaluating harm reduction policy and regulation, and efficiently investing resources into relevant public health strategies and services.  

About the project

This project brings together a range of secondary data sources to estimate answers to these and related questions. The findings are intended to inform the development and evaluation of harm reduction policy and regulation, and guide the resourcing of public health strategies and services.

The project examines:

  • who consumes gambling products and who is harmed by their participation
  • the proportion of product expenditure accounted for by people reporting gambling problems
  • the shape of the relationship between product expenditure and problems
  • the relationship between product expenditure, problems and household finances in low, middle and high income homes
  • the relationship between gambling, health and quality of life, amongst participants and their families

Related publications

Armstrong, A. R., & Carroll, M. (2017). Race betting in Australia. Melbourne: Australian Gambling Research Centre, Australian Institute of Family Studies.

Armstrong, A.R., Thomas, A., & Abbott, M. (2017). Gambling participation, expenditure and risk of harm in Australia, 1997-98 and 2010-11Journal of Gambling Studies, 0, 1-20, DOI 10.1007/s10899-017-9708-0


Anna Thomas
Senior Research Fellow



Gambling support

Are you experiencing issues with gambling?

Find the help which is right for you by visiting our Gambling help page.