27th of May 2010 Author: Glo Wood
IBISWorld research numbers show that sports betting has been the fastest-growing sector of the gambling industry over the past five years
Research studies by IBISWorld analysts have shown that betting on sports has been the fastest-growing sector in the Australian gambling industry over the past five years, reports the Sydney Morning Herald, with Australians wagering a predicted A$2.9 billion on matches and leagues this financial year, compared to A$1.6 billion in 2004-05.
The newspaper notes that this represents annual average growth of 12 percent, dwarfing the increase of 1.2 percent on pokies spending and the 0.5 percent growth on betting on horseracing.
Analyst Sam Ellis, who managed the IBISWorld study, opined to SMH that the increased popularity of online gambling is one of the main factors behind the increase.
"There are more and more people who don't buy into that culture of going into the TAB or pokies [land shops] for a bet but who are happy to go on the internet and to bet online," he says. "Sports betting - and betting on something you know about - is particularly appealing to this younger demographic of gamblers.
"And when you compare sports betting to putting money in pokies, there is certainly a sense of a test of knowledge rather than relying on luck."
The analysis was based on total betting turnover, and revealed that the typical Australian household spends 3 percent of its disposable income on wagering and that the average adult will bet about A$1100 a year.
Alan Eskander, a top Aussie bookmaker, told the newspaper that the IBISWorld study accurately reflects the situation, and added that betting on sports is attracting punters who may not feel as confident when wagering on the traditional events like horse, greyhound and trotting races.
"Sports - whether you are talking about the NRL, AFL or soccer - get huge media coverage and really get people talking," he said. "It's no surprise that more people want to bet on something they have a knowledge and understanding of rather than sports like [horse] racing which, unless you've been brought up going to the track, can be more difficult to get a handle on," he said.
Eskander's company Betstar generates around 15 percent of turnover from wagering on sports, the bookie revealed, commenting that he believes this will increase dramatically in the future.
IBISWorld's study showed that despite the fast growth in sports betting, this form of wagering still lags far behind the money spent on pokies, which accounts for 71 percent of all gambling turnover, or more than A$109.4 billion, a rise of $6 billion over the past five years.
That dominance may not last, said Gerard Daffy, a manager for online bookmaker Sports Alive.
"If you go into a pokies venue the majority of players tend to be from an older generation or demographic,'' Daffy said.'There has been tremendous growth in sports betting recently. A large part of this has to be put down to increased coverage on TV.
''When digital channel OneHD began showing netball, we suddenly found there were people who wanted to bet on that sport.
''As more and more sports get live coverage - either on TV or online - we will see a real increase in wagering on those sporting codes," Daffy opined.
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