A recent report on casino gaming trends in Australia caught the eye of New Zealand gaming industry observers this week. According to World Casino Directory news, more Australians are embracing slot machines, pokies, and other casino-style games online and in land-based venues.
As the original World Casino Directory article explains, over 80% of Australians participate in some form of gambling every year. Approximately 60% bet on slot machines, making Australia the world's biggest per capita market for slots and similar electronic gaming machines (EGMs).
Industry revenue statistics paint a more nuanced picture. Though participation rates are incredibly high, the average Australian only spends around USD 1,200 annually on gambling - far below major gaming markets like the United States and the United Kingdom. Experts attribute this to strict regulations capping maximum bets on slots and other games designed to control problem gambling.
The World Casino Directory reporter suggests Australia's appetite for slots and pokies seems at odds with restrictive government policies. Yet locals don't perceive regulations as a barrier to enjoyment. On the contrary, most players appreciate safeguards that promote responsible gaming habits and help prevent addiction.
Australia's ability to balance problem gambling concerns with casino gaming demand could be an encouraging case study. New Zealand comparably regulates slots and EGMs to Australia. However, participation rates down under have room for growth.
According to government statistics, less than half of Kiwis gamble regularly, with slots claiming a meager 8-10% share. Analysts believe New Zealanders have an unmet desire for gaming entertainment that regulated, responsible casino expansion could help satisfy. The country's active online casino market hints at this enthusiasm.
If Australia's example is any indicator, New Zealand need not choose between promoting casino gaming and prioritizing social responsibility. With the right regulatory approach, the country could support a thriving, sustainable gaming sector catering to citizens' interests while minimizing the risks of addiction.