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Sports betting Australia

Online sports betting is a common activity in Australia. Most adults participate in gambling at least once a year. In this article, we will discuss the history of the sports betting country, the social demographics of Australian gamblers, the growth of the online sports betting market and the best online bookmakers in Australia.

History of sports betting in Australia

The first recorded organized gambling event in Australia was a horse race, held in Hyde Park in 1810. By the late 19th century, horse racing had become increasingly popular with tracks in the most major towns. Up until the early 1930’s, bets on horse races were only allowed to be placed through an ‘on course bookmaker’. The development of the telephone and radio broadcasting in 1931 opened the door for many illegal bookmakers to begin lucrative businesses. By 1970, sports betting had become one of the most popular forms of gambling in Australia.

Sports preferred by Australian punters

Australia is the world’s leader when it comes to gambling. But what exactly are Australians gambling on? The Australian Gambling Statistics (AGS) report provides an insight on the entire range of legal gambling in Australia. It’s compiled annually by the Queensland Government Statistician’s Office in co-operation with all Australian state and territory governments.

Last year, Australians have gambled for a total turnover of 204 billion dollar. The gambling industry in Australia generated approximately 22 billion dollars in profit, which is a large profit margin for the bookmakers and casino’s. The table below gives an overview for the several types of betting.

Type of gambling Million (dollar) % of total
Gaming machines 142.510,07 70%
Casinos 27.163,32 13%
Horse racing 18.355,60 9%
Sports betting 9.724,03 5%
Lotteries 4.802,16 2%
Other 1.861,74 1%
Total 204.416,92 100%

How old are Australian gamblers?

In Australia, all participants in licensed games of chance must be at least 18 years old. This legal gambling age is fixed nationwide. An estimated 6.8 million Australians gamble on a regular basis. According to the Australian Gambling Research Centre (AGRC), this group has specific social demographic characteristics. Australian gamblers are substantially overrepresented among males, aged 50 and over.

Australia’s addiction to gambling

The numbers mentioned above show the largest ratio in the world when it comes to gambling activities. Although this doesn’t apply to all Australian gamblers, it is estimated that about 40% of the Australian gamblers have serious addiction problems. They impact negatively on friends and family, according to Dr Charles Livingstone, one of Australia’s foremost gambling researchers. Gamblers who experienced problems tended to be overrepresented among males between 19 and 29 years old, who were unemployed, single, renting and had low incomes.

The growth of online sports betting in Australia

Although sports betting in Australia was illegal up until 1980, it didn’t keep Australians from betting. Visitors of horse racing events used to place their bets at (illegal) on course bookmakers. Nowadays, the Australian sports betting industry is one of the fastest growing in the world.

Gambling in Australia

Nowadays, Australian bettors more and more prefer the types of betting that requir skill and experience, especially sports betting. With regard to these sports bettors, a substantially higher proportion is male, under 50 years old, had 12 years of schooling on average, were employed full-time and received the highest incomes.

Best online bookmakers in Australia


Sportsbet is one of the biggest bookmakers in Australia. Sportsbet was established in 1993 and Australia’s first licensed bookmaker. The company was acquired by Paddy Power in 2010 and since 2 February 2016 it has been owned by Paddy Power Betfair. Ten years ago an Australian could bet on a domestic horse or greyhound race. Today, bets can be placed on any sport in the world. Not only the number of sports increased, but also the number of betting options.

William Hill

William Hill, founded in 1934, can easily be considered one of the pillars of sports betting in Australia. If you are a fan of sports betting or online casino, then there’s no chance you haven’t heard of this giant.

Sports betting at William Hill

All that experience translates into perfect services, both online and offline. This is confirmed right from the start, with the new customer offer that rewards any £10 bet with a £30 free bet. Experts in the industry carefully handle every aspect of the online betting experience at William Hill, so that punters have the best possible time. From the dedicated mobile apps, top-notch security, diverse payment and withdrawal methods, commitment towards responsible gaming and all the way to the 24/7, professional customer support department: everything is perfectly designed and optimised.


Another popular Australian bookmaker is Unibet. With more than 13.5 million customers, Unibet is one of the largest online gambling companies worldwide. Unibet has a local license for online gambling in various countries, including Australia, Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, Romania and the United Kingdom.

Taxation laws on gambling in Australia

Winnings out of (online) sports betting in Australia are not taxed, which makes gambling in Australia even more attractive. The Australian government does not classify gains from gambling activities as income, but rather as a result of luck. Gambling is not considered a profession, but treated as a recreational activity. Although Australian bettors do not have to pay tax over their winnings, gambling operators such as online bookmakers are taxed instead by the government. The tax arrangements in Australia differ from state to state.

Gambling laws Australia

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