Australia’s economy received a significant boost from electronic gaming machines (EGM) between 2016 and 2017. The economy received $5.96 billion during the period from the machines, which were also responsible for the direct creation of 46,660 new jobs. All financial amounts are quoted in U.S. dollars.
The details were revealed in a recent study by the Centre for International Economics (COE). The COE had been commissioned by the Gaming Technologies Association to conduct the study to determine the financial benefit EGMs have had on the country’s economy.
The study also showed that tax revenue to state and commonwealth governments reached $3.94 billion during the same period. Exports, the use of gaming machines by international visitors along with the international sale of machines, contributed just over $203 million.
EGM player expenditure, which is the difference between the amount wagered and player returns, increased by over 50% from a decade prior. In the 1996-97 period, the expenditure amount was $5.87 billion, and this jumped to $9.03 billion during the most recently reviewed period.
Australian pubs and clubs, through the use of EGMs, employed 42,724 individuals. An additional 1,884 were hired by casinos and another 2,052 by the manufacturing sector.
Australians are often referred to as “the biggest gamblers in the world.” They like to wager on virtually anything and recent studies show that EGMs are the preferred choice of most gamblers.
The increase in gambling activity has forced many lawmakers to consider legislation that could seriously curb the amount of betting that goes on across the country. At the end of last month, a bill was passed that bans gambling ads during live sports broadcasts. Just a few days ago, South Australia’s government decided to abolish the state’s Independent Gambling Authority (IGA) and to centralize power under the Office of the Liquor and Gambling Commissioner. The IGA is set to be dissolved as of December 1.
This past June, the Australian Parliament approved the Interactive Gambling Act Amendment (Lottery Betting) Bill 2018, prohibiting any online betting operator from “placing, making, receiving or accepting bets” on the outcome of Australian or overseas lotteries and keno results.
Whether the EGM contribution to the country’s economy, in light of an apparent string of gambling bans, can be maintained will have to be seen.