ACMA study shows increase in Australians using online gambling services during COVID
A new study conducted by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has revealed an increase in the number of Australians gambling online over the six month period through to June 2021.
The study found that more than one in 10 (11%) Australians reported participating in online gambling at some stage in the previous six months, up from 8% in 2020.
According to ACMA, it also highlights significant growth in online sports betting since the 2020 survey, likely driven by the return of sporting events after the COVID-related lockdowns of that year.
Online sports and race betting – both legal in Australia – were “marginally more popular” than online gaming activities like poker machines, poker or casino-style table games, which are all illegal.
Lotteries remained the most popular form of online gambling, with 21% of Australian adults participating in June 2021.
The research also showed that a small proportion of Australian adults are using illegal online wagering services with one in 20 online gamblers (5%) reporting the use of an offshore betting platform.
One-quarter (25%) of respondents who reported participating in sports-related online gambling, including betting on racing, eSports and fantasy sports, in the previous six months had made online in-play bets.
The report “examines the prevalence and nature of online gambling in Australia, and how this has changed in recent years,” ACMA said. “The research provides a snapshot of online wagering in Australia at this time and how this has changed from pre-COVID years.”
ACMA also noted that it has continued to enforce enhanced illegal offshore gambling rules introduced in 2017 under the Interactive Gambling Act 2001, which prohibit online gambling services such as casinos from being provided or advertised to Australians. Since then, the ACMA has facilitated the blocking of 354 illegal gambling websites and 21 affiliate marketing sites, it said.