Industry Sports

Australian Sports Betting Market Leaps 15% Despite Challenges And Overall Gambling Dropoff

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The sports betting revolution isn’t confined to the United States.

This month, Australian officials released their annual gambling report, which included data on revenue generated across all forms of gambling. Sports betting generated A$1.06 billion worth of winnings for the industry in Fiscal Year 2016-’17, an impressive 15.3% increase over the previous year. One AUD is equal to about 70 cents in USD.

The sports betting growth is especially impressive considering the total gambling market in terms of revenue contracted 0.5% in 2016-’17.

The growth of Australian sports betting mirrors what is happening in the U.S., where a May Supreme Court ruling opened the floodgates to state-by-state regulation of the activity. So far, only a handful of states have sportsbooks.

Aussies love to gamble

Australians spend more on gambling per capita than bettors anywhere else in the world. According to the report from the Queensland Government Statistician’s Office, bettors lost A$23.7 billion in 2016-’17, off slightly from the previous year.

Still, the country’s gambling activity is far ahead of Singapore, the world’s No. 2 gambling market in terms of per capita spending. Australian per capita gambling is more than double what is seen in the U.S.

Australia, home to 171 licensed bookmakers, isn’t exactly in love with such a distinction, but Aussies are fond of gambling as a recreational activity and the industry is catering to the demand.

According to the report, Aussies wagered A$10.1 billion on sports during the period, about 5% of the A$208.6 billion bet in total. The sports betting handle was a 3.9% increase year-over-year, while the total handle grew less than 1%.

Sports wagering volume is outpacing the gambling industry at large, and that’s despite a recent government crackdown on the extension of credit to sports bettors and moves in several jurisdictions to increase gambling-related taxes.

Per capita sports wagering was A$533 in 2016-’17, with per capita total wagering of more than A$11,000.

On average, Aussies lost A$56 on sports betting during the time frame, about 4% of the A$1,251 in per capita gambling losses.

Australia, U.S. crossover

The aforementioned shakeup with regard to extending gambling credit played a role in forcing William Hill, one of the leading bookmakers in the U.S. and the United Kingdom, to exit the Australian market earlier this year, Reuters reported.

Both the American and Australian markets are attractive to other firms, however. Australia-based online bookmaker PointsBet plans to launch in New Jersey next month through a partnership with the Meadowlands Racetrack. To get the word out, PointsBet partnered with retired NBA superstar Allen Iverson.

The bookmaker will offer an interesting twist on sports betting: Gamblers will be able to bet on how close the final score is to the spread.

PointsBet is also eyeing potential sports betting in the state of New York through a partnership with the Tioga Downs Casino Resort.

How long until the U.S. passes Australia?

The current U.S. legal sports betting landscape is confined to only a handful of jurisdictions. Nevada is still the nation’s No.1 sports betting market with annual revenue of around $250 million.

So, Australia still has America beat on sports betting, but revenue projections for the latter’s market within the next five years are as high as $5.2 billion. That’s based on 25 to 37 states in the equation.

It won’t be long before legal and regulated U.S. sports betting dwarfs the industry in the “land Down Under.”

A sports betting market of $5.2 billion would give America the largest in the world, per Gambling Compliance. According to the American Gaming Association, Americans bet about $150 billion annually on sports, with the vast majority coming on the black market.

Major professional sports teams in the U.S. have already started to partner with casinos, but Australia still has the edge on that front as well. The three largest Australian sports organizations — not simply franchises — are all partnered with gambling firms. With that said, the NBA and MGM Resorts did recently push the ball forward.

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