Household gambling expenditure in Australia’s two most populous states fell by AU$1.7 billion (US$1.27 billion) in the September quarter of 2021 – the height of Australia’s COVID-19 pandemic – according to the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA).
In a new report titled “Tracking consumption during the COVID-19 pandemic”, the RBA found that household gambling expenditure, measured by net losses on gambling activities, fell sharply during lockdowns – mostly due to lower losses on poker machines with most gaming venues closed.
“For example, households in New South Wales and Victoria reduced their gambling losses by AU$1.7 billion in the September quarter of 2021 with most of the 110,000 gaming machines in these states not operating for much of the quarter,” the RBA said.
However, changes in other gambling activities such as in-person gambling at casinos and online gambling mostly offset one another with casino gaming down and online gambling up.
As previously reported by Inside Asian Gaming, a recent study by the Australian Communications and Media Authority found an increase in the number of Australians gambling online in 2021 with more than one in 10 (11%) reported participating in online gambling, up from 8% a year earlier.
Notably, the RBA said in its latest report that, “Unlike some other categories of consumption, gaming machine gambling losses typically rebounded completely once lockdowns ended.”