Gambling continues to be a prominent public policy area within South Australia (SA), particularly the impact of problem gambling. The gambling industry has evolved rapidly over recent years, particularly with respect to the growth of new modes such as wagering on mobile devices. The last SA gambling prevalence survey was conducted in 2012. The 2018 survey aimed to provide an updated estimate of problem gambling prevalence, as well as exploring the nature and prevalence of gambling activities undertaken by South Australians.

As with the previous research in 2005 (n=17,745) and 2012 (n=9,508), the 2018 study involved a telephone survey of a large (n=20,017), representative sample of residents of SA.

Just under two-thirds of SA residents (65%) had participated in at least one form of gambling in the last 12 months, a significant decrease from the equivalent 2012 result of 69%. The most popular activities were: the purchase of scratch tickets and lottery products (48%); purchasing a major lottery ticket for a major prize, such as a house, holiday or car (26%); Electronic Gaming Machines, or EGMs (19%); and betting on horse, harness or greyhound races (12%). Furthermore, 7% of respondents had participated in sports betting, while 6% had played table games at a casino during the last 12 months.

In 2018, 13% of the SA population had gambled online on either sporting events, horse, harness or greyhound races, fantasy sports, novelty events, casino games online or purchased lottery products through the internet. This represents an eight percentage point increase on the 2012 prevalence of online gambling in SA (5%) and a 12 percentage point increase on the 2005 prevalence (1%).

In 2018, the activities that were the most likely to have taken place online were fantasy sports (76% of players had bet online), sporting events (75% had bet online) and novelty events (61% had bet online).

Gamblers who would bet on an activity online typically bet more frequently than those who did not bet online. Specifically, nearly one in five (19%) respondents who had bet on sports online had bet more than 25 times in a year. Only one in 10 (11%) of sports bettors who had not gambled on sports through the internet had bet that frequently (more than 25 times).

The same pattern was found with betting on horse, harness and greyhound racing and the purchase of lottery products.

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