Australian adults spend an average of $736 (US$478) each a year on gambling. A social trends survey by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reports that in the fiscal year of 1996-97, Australians spent US$6.5 billion, or 3 percent of their household disposable income, on gambling.
"However, the recent rapid growth in gambling expenditure has now begun to level out," the ABS said.
New South Wales, of which Sydney is the capital, has maintained the highest per capita gambling expenditure, which reached 853 Australian dollars (554 U.S. dollars) in 1996-97.
"People spend more time on gaming machines (poker machines) than any other form of gambling," the ABS said.
But lotteries, lotto and pools were by far the most popular forms of gambling throughout Australia, even though they accounted for the least expenditure, it said. Gaming machines came in second in popularity, followed by racing and casinos.
Gambling participation rates increased steadily with age for both men and women in Australia--from around 30 percent for 18-24 year olds to more than 55 percent for 55-64 year olds. Also, on average, men gambled more frequently than women and spent significantly more money on gambling.