Aussie market researchers IBISWorld say sports betting is the fastest growing segment of the Australian gambling industry. IBISWorld GM Karen Dobie told the Daily Telegraph that sports betting saw annual growth of 14.5% over the past five years. Dobie says the average Aussie sports bettor is a young single professional male with plenty of disposable income and who did not view his chosen brand of entertainment as a serious form of gambling. “Sports betting is most accessible online and given this demographic is particularly comfortable in the online environment, this is another factor driving growth.” But even now, worth some $360m/year, sports betting accounts for just 1.6% of Australia’s total gambling spend.
Over 70% of Aussies made a wager of some kind last year. The lottery was the favorite form of betting at 60% participation, followed by video poker (pokies) at 30% and the young and hip 7% who enjoy sports betting. In dollar terms, however, the venerable pokies remain king, generating just over 60% of last year’s total gambling spend, although that number is on the decline. Also down were racing and lotteries, whose share of the spending pie was 12.5% and 11.6% respectively. Casino spending, meanwhile, was on the upswing, notching 20.2% (this figure includes some pokie revenue). IBISWorld projects a 3.3% rise in total spending in 2011-12, to $22.5b for a per person average of $1,265.
Dobie believes sports betting has benefited from increased marketing and the diversity of bets on offer. As if on cue, David Attenborough, CEO of Aussie wagering outfit Tabcorp, had another go at the much-loathed Interactive Gambling Act (IGA). Under the terms of the IGA, local companies like Tabcorp are prevented from offering in-play betting, a restraint not imposed on firms based outside of Australia. The AAP reports Attenborough telling an American Chamber of Commerce luncheon audience that these noncompliant firms “ignore the prohibition, without consequence” leaving compliant firms like Tabcorp “disadvantaged.”
Also ‘disadvantaged’ are the three managers most recently sacked by Sydney’s troubled Star Casino. The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the three execs were let go for violating the company’s email policies, but it wasn’t yet another LOLcat jpeg that earned their bosses’ ire. No, management objected to one of them forwarding an email from director of VIP services Dean Wilson, in which he told senior staff the responsible gambling rules designed to prevent locals from gambling for over 24 hours at a stretch didn’t apply to foreign whales. “We are under no obligation to stop their play at the 24-hour mark. These guests travel with limited time to play and they have an established amount of funds that they are prepared to gamble with.” Seven mid-level and senior staffers have now left the Star since the abrupt dismissal of former manager Sid Vaikunta in early February. The Casino, Liquor and Gaming Control Authority is conducting an inquiry into numerous allegations of profit-driven rule-bending and frathouse shenanigans since the Star went under American management in 2009.