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As the Australian Economy Goes South, Australians Are Gambling More

For anyone keeping an eye on the AUD, it’s been an interesting couple of years. From the highs of over 80c to the USD, we’re now seeing the AUD plummet to new lows of around 66c to the USD, the lowest valuation of this decade.

The last time the AUD was this weak was during the stock market crash of ‘08, from which Australia bounced back fairly quickly, due to natural resource wealth. In the early 00’s, the AUD was sitting at around 50c to the USD.

Why the falling valuation? With close ties to the Chinese economy, and uncertainty in the air surrounding US-Chinese trade and market valuations, Australia is somewhat of a pawn in the middle.

So, how do Aussies seek to mitigate their concerns with a weakening dollar?

Many would think drowning their sorrows might be a quintessential Australian thing to do, however, research has proven that no, the percentage of people drinking is falling.

Instead, it seems that pastimes are changing.

While it might be a given that plenty of people are staying in and binge watching Netflix series, with subscription plans starting from a very affordable $9.99 a month, there is another activity that is on the rise in terms of dollars spent.

Gambling takes on a new spin

While research suggests that gambling in Australia is on the decline overall in popularity, particularly among the younger generation, that doesn’t mean that those who do gamble are gambling less.

In fact, according to the same research, still almost half the population of Australia have used one of the wealth of gambling options available to them over the past 3 months.

New trends show the decline of traditional gambling options like scratch lottery tickets that you can pick up from the newsagency, and a significant rise in online betting. Over a quarter of people that engage in betting practices do so via their mobile phones, a rise from just 5% six years ago. This figure is sure to continue to rise due to ease of use, plus relative penetration of sports betting advertising.

By population gambling may be declining, but Australians spend the most per capita worldwide

It may come as a surprise to many, particularly with the plummeting AUD, but Australians are the leaders when it comes to per capita spend on betting, at $1,324AUD per legal age person in 2017, with Hong Kong a distant second place. Apparently, that’s 1.6% of the average pre-tax earnings of the population.

Australia’s love affair with gambling is far from over.

Pokies revenue is up from the previous year in Victoria. So too are Crown casinos’ revenues across their Melbourne and Perth casinos, along with a significant rise in high roller business. Crown is also set to launch their third Crown casino branch in Australia’s ‘de-facto’ capital city, Sydney in 2021, to rival the already operational Star Casino across the bridge.

WIth diversification of gambling avenues and shifting spending habits it seems odd that gambling spend would be on the rise with the dollar drop, but the figures stand.

Perhaps it is the fortunes of those at the top of the food chain that can account for the rise. Or perhaps it is a pokies-related affair, that habitual gambling is increasing, despite plenty of pushback from legislative bodies.

Aussies should be aware of their gambling spend

With the above in mind, if you are an Australian who gambles either on the odd occasion or quite regularly, it pays to keep an eye on your gambling spend. If it’s looking like you’re spending more than you should, there are always other options available, like just-for-fun betting online, or other places where you can play without putting money down up front. If your wallet can’t support spending money, look at this page for list of best online casinos in Australia with no deposit offers.

You should also keep in mind that there may be another global recession around the corner, with Australia not as well placed to weather the storm as the last time around. If this should happen to come to fruition, having a buffer of savings, plus international diversified stocks and assets will be the best way to ride it out.

This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or management of EconoTimes.

By Sheena Jordan
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