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Australian Gambling Rebounds to Pre-Pandemic Levels

Despite extensive efforts by the government and organizations to combat gambling in Australia, recent findings show a compelling story of a nation that embraces this popular pastime. The Australian National University’s study delves into gambling habits before, during, and after the pandemic, revealing a notable resurgence in gambling rates that has captured the interest of researchers and policymakers. Discover the journey back to pre-pandemic levels in Australia’s gambling landscape.

Pre-pandemic levelsA Rollercoaster Ride of Gambling Rates

During the height of COVID-19 restrictions, it came as no surprise that gambling rates in Australia plummeted dramatically. However, as restrictions eased, the numbers began to climb again, reaching pre-pandemic levels. The study conducted by the Australian National University, led by expert Aino Suomi, underscores this trend, revealing a noteworthy resurgence in gambling participation across all categories, including non-gamblers.

The Online Surge and Slow Return to Live Venues

One significant contributing factor to the revival of gambling rates was the surge in online gambling during the pandemic. Online platforms experienced a staggering 67% increase in spending on gambling in Australia. As restrictions were relaxed, some players who had migrated to online platforms hesitated to return to live venues, delaying the full recovery of live casino participation.

A Pandemic-induced Increase in Frequency

The growth of online gambling during the pandemic also led to a rise in gambling frequency among Australians. ANU’s research highlights that approximately one-third of gamblers created new online casino accounts during this period. Despite limited access to physical venues, participants gambled more frequently, partly due to the accessibility and low stakes offered by many online casinos. On the other hand, live casino players typically spend more per person and engage in less frequent gambling sessions.

Restricting Access: A Double-Edged Sword

The study’s findings present a nuanced perspective on the impact of restricting access to gambling. While such measures positively affected curbing problem gambling among lower-risk players, they did little to deter high-risk gamblers from participating. Some individuals who could not gamble offline turned to online platforms, contributing to the overall increase in problem gambling. The report emphasizes the need for additional support to address the needs of high-risk gamblers, who often show a higher inclination toward sports betting rather than traditional forms such as pokies.

Support for Responsible Gambling

This comprehensive report reinforces a widely acknowledged truth: restricting or removing access to potentially addictive activities can prevent harm, but only to a certain extent. For those grappling with addiction, restrictions act as temporary obstacles rather than long-term solutions. To make a substantial impact, it is essential to provide additional support for problem gamblers while preserving the rights of responsible individuals.


As Australia witnesses a return to pre-pandemic levels of gambling, policymakers and stakeholders must consider these insights. The study conducted by the Australian National University sheds light on the changing trends and challenges associated with gambling. It underscores the importance of balancing responsible gambling practices and supporting individuals facing addiction. By comprehensively addressing the diverse needs of gamblers, Australia can navigate the complex landscape of gambling and promote a healthier and more informed approach to this popular form of entertainment.

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