- In 2015, nearly one million Australians regularly gambled on horse and dog racing.
- Most race bettors were men, and aged between 30 and 64.
- Some 400,000 experienced one or more gambling-related problems.
- Forty-one per cent (41%) of all regular race bettors (403,000 adults) experienced one or more gambling-related problems
- In a typical month, 41 cents in every dollar spent on race betting by regular race bettors came from a person with moderate to severe gambling problems.
Race betting participation
Race betting represented the fourth-most popular regular gambling activity after lotteries, scratch tickets and electronic gaming machines.
- Regular race bettors were overwhelmingly male (81%) and aged between 30 and 64 (66%).
- They were more likely to have a higher-than-average income (44% of bettors) than lower-than-average (35%).
- Compared to the Australian adult population, a substantially higher proportion of race bettors had a certificate or diploma (41% of race bettors vs 33% of adults) while a lower proportion had a university degree (17% vs 28%).
- A higher proportion lived in an outer regional area (13% vs 9%) while a lower proportion lived in a major city (67% vs 73%).
- A higher proportion lived in a couple-only household (30% vs 24%) and without children (30% vs 25%).
- In 2015, gambling-related problems were experienced by 41% of all regular race bettors (403,000 adults).
- One third of all regular gamblers who experienced problems in Australia regularly participated in race betting.
- Around 22% of regular race bettors (214,000 adults) had moderate to severe gambling problems (Table 1).
In a typical month, well over half of all race betting expenditure by regular gamblers (60 cents in every dollar) was accounted for by those who experienced any sort of gambling problem (Figure 3).
Forty-one cents (41 cents) in every dollar was accounted for by those who experienced moderate to severe problems.
Types of problems
Well over a third of all households containing a race bettor with severe gambling problems had to ask family and friends for financial help (39%), while close to a third could not pay the electricity, gas or telephone bills on time (30%). More than a quarter could not pay the rent or mortgage on time (27%).
Nearly one million Australian adults gambled regularly on the races. These people were twice as likely to experience gambling-related problems as the average Australian regular gambler.
Armstrong, A., & Carroll, M. (November, 2017). Race betting in Australia – Research Summary. Australian Government, Australian Institute of Family Studies; Australian Gambling Research Centre. https://aifs.gov.au/agrc/publications/race-betting-australia