Rural Australians Continue to Gamble More Than Their Urban Counterparts
Written By Carla Harris
A 2014 study by Roy Morgan Research recently determined that while overall Australian gambling rates have declined over the past 10 years, participation in games of chance remains most widespread in Australia’s rural areas. According to the study, 56 percent of rural Australians confirm that they tend to place at least one wager over an average three-month period. Australia’s city-dwellers, however, tend to gamble significantly less. During the same three-month timeframe, only 47 percent of capital city residents report instances of gambling.
Polling a wide range of Australians over the age of 17, the Roy Morgan study asked survey participants about all forms of gaming and wagering, from sports booking to keno. In both the country and the city, the most popular gambling outlets are lottery and scratch-off tickets. Poker machines are Australians’ second-favourite form of gambling, despite the fact that these devices are currently illegal in many areas. In Western Australia, for example, poker machines are restricted to a single location: the Crown Perth Casino.
Despite the high concentration of poker machines in urban areas, rural Australians use these devices far more than their urban counterparts. This trend is consistent with public tendencies across all forms of gaming and wagering. In fact, only casino table games attract more gamblers from the city than from the country. When compared with rural gamblers, urban residents are three times more likely to play a table game in a casino.
The results of the Roy Morgan study lend credence to previous research into Australian gambling trends throughout the countryside. Drawing upon well-established empirical data, this research has shown that young people in rural areas are introduced to social and recreational gambling through a combination of parents, siblings, and older friends. Because it is passed down from generation to generation within a family context, the gambling tradition is instilled at an extremely early age.