Why is gambling the most beloved activity in Australia? Are Australians just big spenders, or is there more to it? Read along to find out!
Us Australians have quite a long history of gambling. It is considered a part of our heritage, dating way back to the colonial era during the 18th century. It is practically in our blood — the excitement, taking risks, and enjoying when they pay off.
Here in our country, gambling is the most popular form of entertainment, more than any other. Ever since the early 1970s, when casino games first started to take on in Western Australia, our country has been experiencing a gambling expenditure. And when you add the Internet to it, you’ve got yourself a pretty satisfying gambling experience for everyone.
On the other hand, many think that gambling is a favourite activity not just for the players, but for the Australian government as well. Namely, the gambling revenue is so huge that it represents almost 90% of the total state tax income. It helps the entire country to cover education expenses, health insurance, and so much more.
However, most of that revenue comes from pokies, which is a favourite gambling activity in Australia. Not only that, but the poker machines here are produced more than anywhere else in the world. More than half of the Australian adults spend their time in front of a slot machine at least once a week. This has started to become such a problem that the government had to ban slot machines in the past. But since the production of pokies gravely contributes to the state budget, this ban was eventually lifted, and the interest for the electronic gaming machines in Australia is at an all-time high.
But pokies aren’t the only thing that draws us in, with their flashing colours and astonishing sound effects that contribute to the experience even more. Sports betting is the second most popular activity, after gambling machines and other casino games.
So what is it about the gambling industry that has such a strong allure that it is even considered a disease and a threat to the general population’s health? Well, we’ve decided to investigate this phenomenon.
Marketing at Its Finest
It is not a secret that gambling in Australia is one of the most popular activities, as we’ve mentioned before. But since the government was so worried that it had to put a ban on this activity, how come the interest in it hasn’t dropped even a little bit?
Well, the answer to that is quite simple — it is highly profitable. Not only is gambling tax a big part of the state’s funding, but the production of gambling machines has turned out to be quite a successful business as well. Pokies are actually produced more in Australia than anywhere else in the world on a yearly basis. Not even the US can compete, even though they were the ones who made casinos so popular in the first place. Especially in South Wales, where there are more poker machines than there are koalas in the whole country, so you get the picture.
According to Australian gambling laws, accessing and using interactive gambling services is not an offense here. Considering the number of casinos there are in Australia, they are practically impossible to avoid. Many Australians have at least one or more family members that experienced some form of gambling addiction in their lifetime. And with online gambling becoming more common than a visit to a brick-and-mortar casino with cigars and pretty ladies at every table, it has become even easier to get caught up in the game, and eventually lose everything, including yourself.
Though the online casino business started in the mid-1980s, the enthusiasm has not decreased to this day. Online casinos offer a bunch of games playable in fun mode, so you can familiarise yourself with how they work without any risk of losing money. But Australians do not usually stop there. It is quite easy to fall for the old promise of putting in just a little effort and getting much more in return when those flashing lights wake up on your pokie, announcing your glorious victory.
However, that’s where a problem with gambling starts for many Australians. You think you will win that grand prize if only you pull that handle one more time. And then once more, to be sure. Then, before you know it, the sun has long set, you are tired and agitated, with empty pockets, and your family members worried sick.
And that’s how you turn a fun-filled experience into a personal nightmare. In the past decade, many Australians have experienced light to severe medical issues, from problems with their nerves and insomnia to serious cases of anxiety and depression. To put things in perspective, the average loss of money in casinos in one hour is over $700 in Australia, whereas in the United Kingdom, for example, it’s only around $120. So you see where all the anxiety and frustration comes from.
Big Social Issue
When gambling becomes a problem, it reflects on other parts of your life too. Additionally, it creates disharmony in the entire social construct, and the issue just grows more and more. Unfortunately, only about 15% of gambling addicts actually seek help, which shows a rather small interest our country has in their players’ well-being. Many casinos have made bigger efforts to enrich their responsible gambling sections in order to raise awareness of these issues. There are many ways to reach out and get help — through counsellors, therapists, and many organisations across the country that deal with gambling problems.
Additionally, these issues lead to many more troubles in other parts of people’s lives. Gamblers tend to develop a drinking problem or become heavy smokers. Also, the rate of divorce is much higher among casino lovers, and their children are more likely to grow up to become gamblers themselves.
Furthermore, what was once a proud heritage dating back a few centuries, today has become more of a problem than a fun escape from a daily routine. The overall productivity of the entire country has significantly decreased with the rise of casino games’ popularity. All in all, seems like these days, Australians like pokies more than anything else.
Here in Australia, gambling is like a second language. And sometimes, that can become a big problem. Australians use gambling as a fun escape and a chance to get some excitement in their lives, but it often turns into something much different. Today, many Australians experience health troubles related to pokie addiction. This issue is so severe that almost every casino has an ambulance on standby, just in case. Ultimately, it is becoming more and more clear that Australia has a serious gambling problem that needs to be brought under control.