Gambling in Australia


The importance of gambling in Australian society is universally acknowledged and our reputation as a ‘nation of gamblers' has been widely promoted by both the media and popular literature. Unlike most Western nations, Australian governments have actively encouraged a wide diversity in the types of legal gambling.

This Trends and Issues is an attempt to clarify the current status of gambling in each Australian jurisdiction. Although gambling has many positive aspects, such as entertainment and revenue value, this paper focuses on negative aspects associated with both legal and illegal gambling in Australia, including limits to control, criminal activity and compulsive gambling. The authors discuss reforms to legal gambling, as proposed by previous inquiries, which aim to ensure more effective supervision and control. The paper concludes by discussing the importance of thorough research and evaluation prior to the implementation of legislative and policy changes in the area of gambling.

Given the controversy surrounding the introduction of casinos in both the Australian Capital Territory and New South Wales, as well as discussion regarding the future legalisation of some forms of gambling in other jurisdictions, this Trends and Issues is pertinent to policy formulation in Australia.