Online Gambling Continues to Gain Ground in Australia


Australians are making a move toward online gambling and betting. A new report from the Australian Communications and Media Authority shows a slight uptick in the amount of online related traffic.

Sports betting
Sports betting
Bettors wait in line to place their bets. This doesn’t happen with online sportsbooks, which have seen an increase in activity in Australia. (Image: AP News)

Australia’s Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has distributed a report on the state of online betting in the country. As predicted, more attention is being given to the segment, although growth is slower than most had anticipated. The research is a little dated, comparing the first six months of last year with the same period in 2020.

Online Betting In Australia Slow to Grow

The ACMA points out that 11% of the Australian gambling population participated in online gambling activity over the latest six-month period. A year earlier, that number was 8%. That indicates growth, but not on the level that analysts thought would arrive

Online sports betting witnessed a similar growth rate – only 3%. However, overall, this figure was significantly low compared to other betting options. During the six-month period in 2020, the rate was 5%; now, it’s at 8%.

There’s a neck-and-neck race between sports betting and racing in Oz. Sports betting is ahead, at 57%, but racing is almost even at 55%. Australians still haven’t caught the eSports betting bug, as this segment only comprised 5% of the total.

By way of comparison, eSports betting in the US is only slightly ahead. As much as 8.5% of US bettors bet on eSports, according to a report published last year in Gaming Law Review. However, the segment is still more popular in Australia than election betting, which only garnered 5%.

The most popular form of gambling hasn’t changed much. The ACMA points out that 21% of the adult population participated in online lotteries during the six months the research covered.

There’s still a certain percentage of Australians who prefer to use illegal platforms for their gambling activity. Some 5% of those involved in the research acknowledged the use of black market alternatives.

ACMA Looks for Greater Control

Perhaps in an effort to further stem the black market activity, the ACMA wants more authority. Now, it only has “voluntary” authority, with no ability to make demands of gaming operators and other digital platforms. The agency reached out to lawmakers this week to seek changes.

This past Tuesday, the ACMA’s chair, Nerita O’Loughlin, paid a visit to a Senate Estimates hearing. She was there to discuss how the ACMA doesn’t have the ability to compel the release of data on misinformation from digital platforms. This, she asserts, limit’s the agency’s ability to handle complaints.

“If you look at some of our other legislative responsibilities, we had specific powers to compel information from say the telecommunications companies … we don’t have similar powers to compel information from platforms on misinformation and disinformation,”  O’Loughlin told Australian senators.

While the conversation focused on information regarding digital platforms, and not specifically gaming activity, it opened the door to the ACMA being given definitive regulatory authority. Perhaps then, the 5% gambling on illegal sites could be cut off.

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