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Pokies lose their lustre


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Fewer South Australians are playing poker machines, a social research study shows.

Pokies turnover has also decreased as more punters take to sports betting, although it is the pokies that still pull the most money.

The report produced by the Social Research Centre is based on data from the 2012 Survey of Gambling Prevalence in South Australia, which sampled the habits of 9402 South Australian
adults between October and December 2012.

“The prevalence of electronic gaming machines (EGM) gambling fell significantly from 30 per cent of South Australian adults in 2005 to 26.5 per cent in 2012,” the research report concluded.

“The prevalence of frequent EGM play also decreased, from 6.1 per cent in 2005 to 4.2 per cent in 2012.”

While there had been a shift in the amount and frequency of play, the “type” of gambler remained constant.

“EGM gambling was higher amongst males; younger people under 35 years of age; people with no formal post-secondary educational qualification; and those in full-time paid employment.”

While around one in four adults said they played the pokies, the rate among young males was more than 41 per cent.

Our overall gambling spend also took a dip – “between 2004/05 and 2009/10 there has been a slight decrease in per capita gambling expenditure in South Australia from $908.10 to $891.66”, the report stated.

“A decrease (from $810.93 to $780.06) was evident during this time-frame for gaming activity while per capita expenditure increased on racing (from $95.52 to $105.65) and sports betting (from $1.65 to $5.95).

The decline in gambling expenditure on EGMs is supported by data from the Office of the
Liquor and Gambling Commissioner, which showed net gambling revenue per machine per day fell slightly from $164 in 2007/08 to $160 in 2011/12.

Another area on the rise is online gambling.

Government plans to allow for online purchases of Tasslotto tickets and lotteries will see that figure jump markedly.

The report analysed the trends and gambler profiles in eight categories – from pokies to horse racing, sports betting, bingo, lotto and even mah-jong.

“The prevalence of most gambling activities was disproportionately high amongst males,” it found.

“Instant scratch tickets and bingo were the only activities in which prevalence was higher
amongst females.

“Younger people under 35 years of age exhibited higher prevalence for almost all of the
gambling activities.”

The only exceptions were the purchase of lotto/lottery tickets, where prevalence was disproportionately high for people aged 35 to 64 years, and day trading and purchase of instant scratch tickets, where no clear age biases were evident.

Geographically, there was relatively high prevalence in country regions outside Greater Adelaide with respect to the purchase of all three lotteries products (lotto, keno and instant
scratch tickets), betting on horse or greyhound racing, and online play of casino games or poker.

“The only activity showing above-average prevalence in metropolitan Adelaide was playing table games at a casino where ease of access for metropolitan residents is likely to be a factor.”

The report was tabled in parliament last week and can be read here.


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