Horse Racing vs iGaming Environment in Australia – Current Market Comparison

| March 11, 2021

Gambling industry in Australia is one of the largest industries by market capitalization. In a survey carried out in 2019, over 68% of the adult population in Australia agreed to gamble at a time during the previous year. Considering the country’s population size (25.36 million), Australia has a considerably high number of punters. 

In the past, the number of games available to these punters was just a few, and land-based casinos had their limitations in variety. Then, players could place their bets on slots and table games. However, as technology came to be, and with internet invention, we saw more games where players can place their bets. Today, Australian punters can now place their bets on slots, keno, sports, lotto, and scratch cards, all with the use of the internet. Of these collections, 2 seem to be the largest at the moment and are fast gaining gamers  attention across Australia. That is slot gaming and sports bets. In this review, we will examine these two and compare their current status.     

Australian iGaming Market Overview 

iGaming is another fancy term that we use for gambling. In simple terms, it refers to all games that allow their players to play and predict the outcome for a chance to get more money than they paid. Even though technological advancement continues to improve how we gamble, gambling’s basic principle remains the same. That is, putting down your money with the possibility of losing it while expecting to make a profit in the process. It is a game of chance at its best, and no one can make promises that your spending will be profitable.   

Australia has one of the largest iGaming markets in the world. The market, which is also very diverse, allows players to bet on different games, including poker, lottery, keno, and many other online games. According to the 35th edition of the Australian Gambling statistics from Queensland Treasury, Australian punters spent about 242 billion dollars on gambling between 2017 and 2018. Interestingly, the figures keep increasing as this was larger than how much punters spent between 2016 and 2017 (208 billion dollars). According to figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, about 19.75 million adults in Australia engage in gambling regularly. This means punters averagely spend 12,000 dollars or more on gambling every year, which is enormous if you think about it. 

Slot machines, also known as pokies or poker machines, take the lion’s share of the total amount spent on gambling. Between 2017 and 2018 alone, punters in Australia spent about 181.4 billion dollars on online pokies. That amounts to about 9,419 dollars per person, representing 56.7% of the total gambling expenditure for that year. The second-largest sector was the horse racing bets sector which accounts for 15.5% of the total spending on gambling between 2017 and 2018. That 258 billion dollars were spent on horse racing bets in total, which is about 1,340 per person. Other sectors include:

  • Lottery and scratch cards: 14.2% of the total expenditure, that is 34.3 billion dollars ($1,737 per capita) 
  • Sports betting: 5.2% of the total expenditure, that is 12.58billion ($662 per capita)
  • Live tables: 5.0% of the total expenditure, that is, 12.1 billion ($636 per capita)
  • Keno: 3.4% of the total expenditure, that is, 8.3 billion dollars ($436 per capita)

Gambling in any form involves risking money to win more money. With that in mind, it is not surprising that Australia also leads the countries’ chart with the highest gambling losses. The beauty of gambling is that it comes with a risk and reward system where players get higher rewards for taking higher risks. Of the entire 242 billion dollars wagered between 2017 and 2018 in Australia, Australian punters lost about 183 billion dollars. On average, that is about 1,260 dollars lost to gambling that year. That loss was by far the highest in the world as the next country, Singapore recorded a loss of 5.9 billion dollars. Comparing the figures, you will see that Australia lost about three times more of what Singapore lost to gambling in that year alone. Losses, as such, raised several concerns as to whether there is a problem gambling issue in Australia or not. 

As expected, the most significant losses came from pokie machines, both online and offline. However, looking at the stats, you will wish that horse racing should go next, considering that it had the second-highest expenditure after slot games. Interestingly, as you will see in the charts below, horse racing and other sports bet recorded the third.

Why Australians Gamble So Much

To understand why Australians are so hooked to gambling, you have to understand its origins—today, gambling in Australia is more of culture than entertainment. Years ago, merchants from across the world brought with them gambling games as entertainment and introduced them to the Australians who today still hold on to that culture so dearly. 

Asides from the cultural implications, availability, and access seem to be significant factors. Of all the poky machines in the world, Australia alone accounts for 20%. And so, players have access to these games whenever they want to.

 In 2017, a study by the Australian Institute of Family Studies showed over 200,000 pokies in Australia, with almost half of them in NSW. Talking about accessibility, Australia is one of the few countries that allow pubs, sporting clubs, bars, and other organizations to own slots. With the invention of the internet, things even got worse. More players now had access to online gaming than ever before. More adverts appear on media platforms these days encouraging gambling, particularly sports betting. Many young people are beginning to see sports betting as an everyday activity. Hence, it is growing at a fast rate, coupled with the integration of social media. Horse racing seems to be growing fast because it offers a sense of safety and is relatively predictable compared with other sport betting activities.  

Authorities and legislation in gambling

Considering how scary the gambling scene is in Australia, some of the regulations in place by the government are probably fair enough. For pokies, the government of Australia has set a limit of 5 dollars for wagers. That is, no matter who you are, you cannot bet higher than 5 dollars on any land-based machine. In areas where problem gambling persists, new pokies have a 20% maximum cap on their bets, especially in NSW. Also, the devices must have at least 85% returns to their players, although some territories use higher limits. So, gambling venues can only take a maximum of 12.5% of the wagers over time. 

In Horse racing, the Australian government has stopped mainstream TV stations from airing adverts that have to do with sports betting in general. However, streaming platforms like YouTube and Instagram fall outside of the government’s reach, and they still advertise sports betting to people in Australia. 

Online Pokies Vs. Horse Racing AU Markets Comparison

The Australian pokies market is larger than the Horse racing market by size. Online pokies in Australia as of 2018 generated annual revenue of more than 180 billion, while horse racing made over 40 billion in revenue. The large disparity in the two markets can be attributed to several reasons that bother around the two games’ nature. 

Online pokies attract more players because it is the most readily available, unlike other forms of gaming. All a player needs to play games online at his favorite casino at any time of day and place his bets. However, in horse racing, players have to wait for one of the 19,000 tournaments held yearly in Australia before they place their bets. As of 2019, Aristocrat pokies were the most played slots online in Australia. These pokies generated a total revenue of 4.5 million dollars for that year alone. 

In horse racing, geographical location and peer influence seem to be the major drivers for market growth. The Melbourne cup takes the largest share of bets in horse racing every year. Naturally, one would expect that the highest number of bettors in Horse racing would come from Queen’s land, considering that the cup is held there every year. Northern Territory of Australia had the most considerable revenue in horse racing. Compared with Queensland, the Northern territory had almost five times the size of the revenue collected in Queensland.

What is Aristocrat Pokies

So, you might want to ask what or who is Aristocrat and Why are Aristocrat online pokies for real money 2021 so popular. Well, the name Aristocrats refers to one of the leading developers of slot games in the world. The company has its base in Sydney, Australia’s capital city, where it reaches many other countries. The company is a firm favorite amongst punters because their games come with state-of-the-art graphics, fantastic bonuses, and beautiful innovations that players love. With the years of experience they have in the game. The name has become a yardstick of quality for many punters. Often, you will see gamblers say that casinos with Aristocrat games are legit. 

What Is The Difference And What In Common Between Horse Racing And Online Pokies

At the basic level, both online pokies and horse racing work under similar principles. Punters in both fields wager their cash with the hope that they will win more money. In most cases, winning depends mostly on luck and how much of the game the player understands—the idea of understanding the two-game poses different potential problems for gamblers in the two fields.

Horse racing is very common in Australia, and its history travels back into the past. To bet here, players will set some money aside, hoping that a certain or some set of horses will win a race. Usually, there are three types of bets available to players. The first type is the win bet, where players will bet that a particular horse will win a race. Punters can also stake their money for the place bet. To succeed in such place bets, your horse must come in first or second position at the end of the race. 

iGaming Environment
Horse racing vs online gaming – Australian market comparison

Finally, the show bet where players will bet that their horse or set of horses will come in the first, second, or third position at the end of the race. Usually, your chances of winning in horse racing lie primarily on how much knowledge you have. Although you need a bit of luck, the horse’s superiority and health, coupled with the rider’s skill, go a long way in deciding who wins. That is why punters in horse racings must have a good knowledge of the game. Also, horse racing odds change with your bet type and with the match statistics. Different bookmakers would adjust the house edges at intervals so that they can get more profit. Your best bet most of the time is from the statistics of past matches. Get the stats or have a broker help you out with some histories about the game. You may also get to know the riders’ and horses’ stats to give you a better idea of how to bet. 

On the other hand, pokies rely more on luck. They run on random generator numbers (RNGs). To win in a slot game, you do not have to understand what the game is all about or how it is played. Spin the reels, and if you are lucky, you will see winning symbols arrange themselves across pay lines to give you good wins. For punters playing slots, creating a winning strategy, a budget, and frequent practice are ways to increase your winning chances. Unlike horse racing, the odds of winning are the same across all games. That is, slots have fixed house edges. Unlike horse racing, online punters in slot games can place diverse kinds of bets. 

Most games come with different bet levels and several paylines, allowing for various combinations for bets. However, slots have a maximum value that you can wager per round. This is different from what you have in horse racing, where you can gamble without limits, especially as a VIP member of an online casino. Again, slot machines have an average return index called the RTP. The return to player percentage gives players an idea of how profitable a slot machine will be in the long run. While both games occur online, horse race bets are restricted to when the game is on-going. But in slot games, players have almost 24/7 access to play games for real money. There are thousands of casinos with a wide range of titles that you can play to win real money. Besides, players can also play slot games like live dealer games, especially those connected to a pool as progressives. 

Horse Racing Market Growth Statistics

Generally speaking, sports betting has been gaining popularity amongst the Australian population in recent years. However, there has been a steady and higher growth in horse racing bets than other forms of wagers in Australia. 

According to the Australian Gambling Research Centre, Australia had about a million gamblers in 2015. A good number of these people were males of ages 31 to 36. At the time, the number of adults who gambled in Horse racing was just 5.6% of the total population. However, today that market has grown to become twice its original size. Today, Australia’s horse racing market accounts for 13% of the total amount of bets annually, with an annual growth rate of 8.1%. 

Online Pokies Market Growth Statistics

Australia’s online pokies market is fast-growing in fact, its growth rate is the fastest in the world. From just 1% at the inception in 1998, the market size grew to 8% in 2011. The growth in the online gambling scene is causing a decline in the traditional land-based casinos of Australia. In 1999, Australian casinos had about 82% participation. By 2011, the participation rate had dropped down to 62%, and unfortunately, the value keeps dropping for land-based casinos. 

In 2010, iGaming, generally in Australia, had a value of 1.6 billion dollars, and 60% of this money went to casinos offshore.  

In just 5 years, the industry grew up to a 25% increase in size. This was mainly because of the increased usage of mobile phones and access to more methods of payment. Today in Australia, almost everyone has a phone from which they can play any game of their choice. Also, there are several adverts on the internet luring people to gamble with different bookmakers.

Compare Statistics

Even though it might seem like the online casino is doing better than, the growth rate figures show that Horse racing is the next big thing. Although slot gaming has the largest share of the market right now (56.7%), the increased participation rate in Horse racing betting is more extensive than in slot gaming. More and more people are beginning to see the safety in Horse race betting compared with slots, and more players are going for it. However, the Horse racing market’s growth is limited by the number of horse racing competitions that can be held per year. 

Competitive Landscape

The competitive landscape in the horse racing industry has continued to change over time. These changes are mostly due to innovations that have made the scene more complex over the years. Now, horse racing in Australia is not just a business for Australians. Punters from across the globe can now place their wagers on horse racing games from their home countries even without having an idea of what the game is about. 

Several betting sites in the UK and US take part in horse racing bets in Australia. While regulation and government policies seem to be holding things back in the traditional betting scene, the internet is taking things to the next level. 

The last 5 years have been terrible for conventional betting operators as online bookmarkers continue to bring their customers. Unlike before, we are seeing more online casinos add horse racing to their portfolio, seeing the vast potential it has. As a means of getting a massive chunk of the enormous demand, these casinos offer their customers bonuses for playing games with them. For instance, you could gain as much as a 100% match bonus for registering as a new member of an online casino to bet on Horse racing. Today, one of the most used methods for luring customers is adverts. Everywhere you turn on the internet today, at least one banner points you to gambling or igaming. Many of these casinos have blogs and articles that help point their customers in the right direction regarding placing the right bets. In the online casino scene, the last few years have been booming. 2020 was a year to remember, mainly due to a massive increase in demand for online slots. As many industries whales for their losses, operators of online casinos found ways of attracting more customers to themselves. 

More players are getting to play these games from their phones, and more casinos are looking for opportunities to lure more players. Casinos now have bonuses even on demo games with which players can win real money even when they play for free. The number of payment methods accepted today is more than what we had in the past. As of today, players can place bets with cryptocurrencies, e-wallets, and many more. There are also innovations like Virtual reality and Augmented reality being developed so that players can enjoy a better experience and play more games. 

Category: Betting

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