How Did Australia’s History of Gambling Start?

How Did Australia's History of Gambling Start
How Did Australia’s History of Gambling Start

Ever since its creation, Australia has had deep ties to gambling. From humble roots to booming businesses, the industry has grown astronomically. It evolved from organized races to bustling casinos that generate billions in tax dollars alone. This has made gambling a vital lifeline for the Australian government, so it’s no surprise that it’s flourishing. It’s too big of industry to fail since any effects on gambling would cripple the national economy.

This binge of excess is welcome by the government but fueled by Australian players. Studies show that Aussie punters spend a whopping $19 billion on gambling every year. That translates to $1,500 per person, which showcases how much certain people are betting. Over 70% of adults in Australia participate in some form of gambling. From lotteries to scratch cards games, there’s no shortage of ways to participate in on this boom.

Australia’s dynamic relationship with gambling is both inspiring & troubling. It’s a booming industry that generates jobs, but on some levels, it has become a national problem. When exploring our history of gambling, it becomes apparent that gambling is in our blood. Australians have been gambling for hundreds of years, so it’s an essential part of our culture. With so many factors to examine, the only way to get the whole story is to look at the facts. For this reason, we have created a timeline of gambling in Australia. Prepare to read out this illustrious history!

History of Gambling in Australia

History of Gambling
Australia’s gambling romance is no secret.

Over the last 200 years, gambling has transformed from a new Australian pastime into a multi-billion-dollar industry. There was plenty of small scale gambling beforehand, but its transition into public events didn’t start until 1809. This era was pioneered by New South West Whales; where the first organized race meet was held. Despite sounding normal, it was a huge step at the time. Normally gambling was done behind closed doors; so moving it into the spotlight was extremely risky.

As one brave venue started hosting races, many more entertained the thought of joining in. Unfortunately, that didn’t come to fruition until 50 years later. In 1861, the Melbourne Cup was hosted. This helps ease fears that gambling would cause mayhem on the streets, so the industry starts to accept. In 1879, the first Tote was introduced in South Australia. This paved the way for the first automatic Totalisator machine being unveiled in Western Australia 30 years later.

Pokies were legal in NSW

Pokies were legal in NSW

These brilliant machines revolutionized gaming, causing an explosion of public interest. The government starts the first lottery in 1920; while SP bookies spread throughout the country. By 1955; pokies machines were legalized in New South Wales. From there it was only a matter of time before the first casino opened in 1972.

After this monumental victory, it was only a matter of time before these activities swept the nation. Now Australia has one of the highest concentrations of slot machines in the world. The industry is reaching new heights, & it isn’t planning on stopping this expansion anytime soon. Gambling is the most popular game in Australia; which is no surprise since it’s part of the culture.

About the author

Nathaniel Mansfield