Appetite for gambling drops in NSW

1 November 2019

The percentage of adults in New South Wales who gamble has dropped by 12% since 2011, according to a new study released by the Australian state’s government.

The NSW Gambling Survey 2019, released by the NSW government after being commissioned by the Responsible Gambling Fund, found that 53% of the adult population gambled over the past 12 months – down from 65% in 2011.

The survey of 10,000 people also found that the rate of problem gambling in NSW has remained relatively stable since 2011, edging up from 0.8% to 1%. However, when respondents were assessed against the Problem Gambling Severity Index, it was estimated that 7.2% of the public are, at the least, at a moderate risk of problem gambling.

The results also showed that gambling problems are more prevalent amongst younger people. Gamblers aged between 18 and 24 were most likely to be at moderate risk or problem gamblers, with a total of 14.9% falling into those categories, in comparison with the 7.2% overall figure.

The study added that those who experience gambling problems are generally more likely to be single, unemployed, indigenous, male, living in rental accommodation, living in a low socioeconomic area and to draw their income from welfare payments.

The government said that it has allocated A$35m (£18.6m/€21.6m/$24.1m) to responsible gambling programmes in its 2019-20 budget.

The survey also found that lotteries were the most common form of gambling, followed by gaming machines, instant scratch cards and race betting, while 8% had gambled online in the past year with race betting being the most common form of online gambling.

A total of A$9.53bn was spent on gambling in the state in 2016-17, the survey added, with A$976m splashed out on racing, $152m spent on sports betting and $8.4bn on gaming. A total of 73% of gambling expenditure in the state was on gaming machines.

“The NSW government is committed to preventing and minimising gambling harm," the state government said. "The information gathered from this survey will inform prevention, education and treatment initiatives, as well as policy development and regulatory efforts."

In July, the government set out plans to review its existing responsible gambling measures. The findings of the review, supported by research from Central Queensland University, will be published next year.

To read the survey’s key findings, click here.