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The Brief History of Gambling in Australia

Gambling has been a part of our community for centuries. The gambling have undergone a number of advancements and changes and the gambling we know it today is much different from the initial form being used centuries ago. Although the initial concept of gambling remains the same but a number of changes has been made in the format of gambling.

As where the Australia is concerned, gambling came to this place along with the first European settlers. Today, gambling is a very big and essential part of the culture of Australia. The history of gambling in Australia is quite fascinating and interesting to know. If you are a gambling enthusiast, then the history of gambling in Australia will give you a better way to appreciate its facilities in the country.

The Beginning of Gambling Trend in Australia

The trend of gambling first begins with the European settlers who came to Australia and it was quite common during the colonial period of Australia. Initially the gambling was considered illegal before 1900s and even after the Gambling Act of 1908, gambling was only considered legal in Australia at racings. After that, gambling continue to thrive in Australia and people started to practice gambling and start playing gambling games illegally. Where legal betting is considered, it was only practiced in Australia legally at the racetracks. This particular trend sustained until the introduction of TAB in 1951 and after that the introduction of pokies and state-sanctioned lottery, the opening of physical casinos and the trend of online casinos in Australia. Gambling has been around in Australia in a number of forms and formats. Ranging from racing, lotteries and pokies to the lotto and online gambling. Let us have a look at the concepts of different gambling forms and their respective history in Australia.


The concept of racing in gambling was started in 1835 in Australia. Today this department is controlled by AU Racing Board and Australia Thoroughbred Racing in this country. Today Australia is equipped with 52 race courses in which more than 3000 races are held and it also includes up to 145 Group and Listed Races. The races often have a prize money of above $50 million.
After 1830s, the horse racing became a popular gambling play for the adults. It is when the horse racing became a part of their fun industry and people gamble to have fun and if they are lucky enough, they can also make money through it giving them a handsome chance to get profits.
Unfortunately, government banned the bookmakers and gamblers from betting on sports especially in the field of racing and the people are deprived of all the gambling fun and excitement. But again in 1910, the punters are allowed to place bets on races but only for those who shows up at the race track. In 1950, Totalisator Agency Board (TAB) was established after which the betting is placed on any horse in the race tracks of Australia.


Slowly after the acclaim of gambling in racing, first Australia Lotteries were introduced in 1933. The introduction of Golden Kiwi Lottery in 1961 has brought about a revolution in the lotto industry. Since then, scratch cards and Lotto tickets have been sold to the Kiwis in large numbers.


The concept of lotteries was taken over by the Australia Lotteries Commission which was formed in the year 1987 and introduced the concept of Lotto. Lotto became the most popular form of gambling in the history of gambling in Australia. Lotto provides the fun of gambling in a number of ways by offering different types of games like Big Wednesday and Powerball. The availability of the tickets were made online since 2008.


A few years after lotto, pokies were introduced in Australia in 1991 and were legalized soon in the country. The legalization of pokies in Australia brought more interest and attraction to the people as the games were much easier to master and play.
Pokies are generally handled by the charitable foundations and are operated (not in casinos) in clubs and pubs. According to a research of 2014, there are around 16,814 pokies in Australia which are found in more than 1500 locations in the country.


Christchurch Casino has the owner of being the first casino of Australia in 1994. The largest casino of Australia is in Auckland. The other casinos of Australia are found in Queenstown, Dunedin and Hamilton. The casinos gave the people a central place for legalized gambling, enjoy the activities for fun and entertainment, alcohol and food. Table games were also introduced in the casinos to the Australia. The biggest casino group of Australia is Skycity which has signed a treaty with the National-led Government in 2013 to increase the number of gaming tables and slot machines in Auckland for the exchange of a $402 million worth building in the convention center of the city. The Auckland, Queenstown and Hamilton are the casino chains of Skycity.

Online Gambling

Apart from the casinos and other gambling activities, online casinos have taken over the gambling industry today. As the use of internet began to increase, people started to look for a more convenient way to play gambling games while sitting at their home which gives them an ease of access and the freedom of playing gambling games wherever they like. That is when the need of online gambling was felt and the online gambling and online casinos were introduced in the world. Online casinos and online gambling platforms were first launched in 1998 and today its business have grown up to $20 billion worldwide.

As where the Australia is concerned, online gambling has never been appreciated by the government of the state. Yet, the prohibition is imposed is on remote interactive gambling in Australia and therefore it does not prohibit gambling conducted overseas. It is not illegal for someone in Australia to participate in gambling over the Internet if that website is overseas for example (see the source). Also, if the online casinos are not Australia based, the winnings of the gambling games are free from income taxes.

The Gambling Expenses in Australia:

The gambling always serves an important entertainment attraction in Australia and residents of Australia are getting more and more interested in gambling games and activities. It has been proved from the latest figures from the year 2013 which showed that Australiaers spent approximately $2.1 on gambling, which is 0.3% rise from the previous year.
When these terms are adjusted for the population inflation, the figures show a decrease in the gambling trend of 19% from the figures of 2004. Only the expenditures on Lotto was increased in a true sense showing an increase from the figures of 2004.
These figures are approximate but not accurate as they do not include mobile based internet and offshore internet usage. The reports have shown that the gambling industry have to face a loss of $110 million in the year 2013.