Sports betting in Australia bounced back in 2021, according to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA). The media watchdog found that the shift from retail to online wagering was more pronounced than ever and that 11% of Australians placed online wagers in 2021. In 2020, 8% of Australian consumers had gambled online.
8% of Aussies Placed Online Sports Wagers in 2021
That increase is more evident when you look at the number of Australians who had wagered on sports. In 2020, only 5% of the people involved in the survey claimed to have bet on sports in the six months prior to the survey. However, last year, that percentage increased. In 2021, 8% of those surveyed said that they had placed an online sports bet six months before the research was conducted.
When it comes to betting products, sports was the most popular category with punters in Australia. Of those who claimed to have wagered in the last six months, 57% had bet on sports while 55% had placed horse racing wagers. Esports and non-sporting events were popular with 6% and 5% of Australian bettors respectively, while only 3% of sports betting enthusiasts in Australia had wagered on fantasy sports.
What Caused the Increase in Online Betting Activity?
According to ACMA, the shift to online betting became more pronounced in 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic influencing gambling habits in Australia. In fact, 16% of bettors said that they were wagering more when they were surveyed than before the pandemic had started.
Interestingly, the media authority asserted that lockdowns didn’t have a major effect on the number of bets punters placed. ACMA claimed there was a “negligible difference” in the rates reported in states where there were lockdowns and in states without them.
For instance, there was no difference in the gambling frequency reported in Victoria, the Australian state with the strictest lockdowns, when it was compared to the online bet frequency in other states.
ACMA claimed that lockdowns and the pandemic had only some impact on the “small but noticeable increase” in betting activity. According to the media watchdog, the adoption of digital betting devices, as well as Australian sports betting codes returning to a “normal” schedule had a bigger impact on the frequency with which Australian punters wagered online.
Only 5% of Punters Play at Offshore Gambling Sites
Lastly, ACMA also wanted to see how many Australians were playing at offshore gambling sites. The authority found that only 5% of Australian punters have accessed these illegal betting websites. These were mostly young people and individuals who were on lower incomes.
Nevertheless, ACMA maintained that it would continue to wager its war against these illegal wagering providers and protect Australian consumers. The regulator said that it would focus on collecting data about in-play betting and offshore gambling in the years to come, as that would allow it to predict consumer behaviour in the future.
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