Gambling activity in Australia: Findings from wave 15 of the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey

Gambling Problem gambling Household finance Electronic gambling machines Household survey data Australia
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This report provides an overview of gambling activity in Australia in 2015, with respect to participation, expenditure, and problems among regular gamblers. The report follows a format and style common to gambling prevalence studies conducted in Australia and elsewhere.

As with those studies, the report is intended as a reference document. It is written primarily for researchers and government officials who have an interest in Australian gambling statistics. This report makes a unique contribution to knowledge of gambling in Australia, since Australia has no prior history of surveying and reporting on gambling activity among regular gamblers at the national level.

The content consists primarily of descriptive statistics with a focus on population estimates. The statistics were obtained from cross-sectional analysis of Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey data, wave 15, which is the first wave to include gambling questions. The HILDA Survey was designed so that participants' responses (17,606 participants in wave 15) could be generalised to the Australian adult population.

The participation statistics include population-representative estimates of the proportion and number of Australians who spent money on up to ten common gambling activities (lotteries, instant scratch tickets, electronic gaming machines, race betting, sports betting, keno, casino table games, bingo, private betting and poker) in a typical month of 2015. The report refers almost entirely to these gamblers, which we refer to as regular gamblers.

Chapter 1 of this report provides the background to the study and details regarding study design and methodology. Chapters 2 and 3 respectively provide statistics regarding typical gambling participation and expenditure. Chapters 4 and 5 address participation and expenditure among adults who experienced gambling-related problems. In Chapter 6, gambling expenditure is positioned within the household budgets of low, middle and high-income households. As well, rates of financial stress are compared between households that contain members with and without gambling problems. Additional tables, including a comparison of the HILDA Survey gambling statistics with recent state/territory and national prevalence data and industry revenue data, can be found in the appendices.

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