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Monday, May 24, 2010

Australian Casino, Gaming And Sports Betting Trends, by Greg Tingle - 25th May 2010

It's a red hot week, month in fact, for the Australian and Asia Pacific gaming and igaming sector. Following the public release of the Aussie government Australian Productivity Report. Media Man and Gambling911 continue to dissect the report, and what it means to both casual and hardcore gamblers, gamers, punters et al...

Australians are as passionate as ever about having a punt.. slots, poker, online casino games, bingo, horse racing, and sports betting is enjoying massive growth, fuelled by deals with Australian and international news media broadcasters, see punting talked about and referenced considerably in cricket, NRL, AFL, and even MMA via Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Typical Australian households are investing 3% of its income on gambling.

Online and offline sports betting has picked up the slack from bricks and mortar casinos, clubs and hotels, with the majority of gamblers being well aware of the number of attacks and criminal matters having accorded at licensed premises. Those who prefer to smoke while gambling are largely staying home and betting online.

Casino and Club Poker Machines

Aussies are keeping up the tradition of trying their luck on the pokies. Over 70% of punters money allocation going to the "one armed bandits". The pokies sector, much of which is controlled by Woolworths and Mr Bruce Mathieson has grown an average 1.2% per year over the past five years. Machines bring in $109.4 billion a year!

Horse Racing

Following pokies, racing comes in with 11.5% of spending, a .5% lift in five years. Spending rose from $15.6 billion to $17.6 billion during the past five years. The sector grew 2.5%. Horse racing and a "day at the races" is a totally acceptable form of gambling and social pastime to women and their families, with fashion houses, brands and the like getting in the thick of the action.

Casinos (land based)

Casinos are down, despite James Packers' Crown Casino in Melbourne make things appear their up. Tabcorp's Star City in Sydney and Jupiters Hotel & Casino on the Gold Coast have been spending up big on renovations, PR and advertising, and further plugging into the tourism and entertainment sector, attracting the creme of the world's performing artists and sporting events. 'Aussie Millions' remains Australia's biggest poker tournament by far, Crown being its home.

Casinos are understood to have lost market share in the past five years, down from 12.3% total spend in the 2004 - 2005 window to 11.9% currently. Total spending in casinos has risen in the window from $17.5 billion up to $18.3 billion. Despite what many consider to be a long period of national and international recession, the Aussie casino sector has somehow expanded by 0.9% per annum.

Lottery (via newsagents)

Staying steady. 3.5% of gambling spend. Up .2% from 5 years ago. $5.3 billion a year is invested in Aussies each year in attempt to win 'The Big One'. The sector is up by 2.3% over the past 5 years.

Sports Betting

Increased market share of gambling spend up from 1.1% in 2004-2005 to 1.9%.

Annual spend - $2.9 billion. In 2005 it was only $1.6 billion! 12% growth on average. Online sports betting has taken off, attracting a wide and passionate audience. Australians enjoy the skill element to it, just as they do with poker and online poker. Punters test their knowledge, inside info, and try to best their mates, putting down money where their mouth is. Despite a number of sports betting scandals, punters can't get enough. 50% Packer owned Betfair is powering along, also pushing attracting affiliate programs offerings to web publishers such as Media Man via agencies like DGM. Betfair main competitor Centrebet is in the top 2 sports betting firms for Australia based on revenues and active accounts. Betfair and Centrebet are looking to expand into other gambling offerings, with Centrebet already starting to offer online slots, including Marvel Entertainment, no doubt become aware of PartyGaming's popularity with branded online slot games. TAB sub group, Luxbet, entered the market a few months ago, along with Bet365 with a mixed result. SportingBet, Betstar are in the top 10. Many NRL Footy clubs joined up with Betezy (former Media Man client), with sports club branded betting ie: TitanBet (Gold Coast Titans and SharksBet (Cronulla Sharks). Punters are generally remaining very loyal to Betfair and Centerbet. Fairfax (inc The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald) and News Limited (inc The Daily Telegraph, Herald Sun, The Advertiser, Perth Now and The Courier-Mail and The Australian) are both advertising sports betting firms and also have what are understood to be "white label" in house deals, the details of which appear to be closely guarded. Google ads are often featured on Australia's leading newspaper websites and print ads for sports betting and gaming appear in newspaper print weekly.

What's Hot For Betting

State Of Origin, UFC, World Cup Soccer

Other Growing Areas

Female Gambling - online bingo, online sports betting, celebrity betting ala reality TV, politics

Areas Expecting More Growth

Online Casinos, following PartyGaming's global success of branded slot games, incorporating the likes of Marvel Entertainment, Paramount Pictures, IGT. Virtual worlds continue to enjoy popularity, especially with the younger audience, and rumors persist that SecondLife may once again incorporate a gambling - casino element. PKR's 3D poker room appears to be driving a popularity with the 3D casino sector. Richard Branson's Virgin Games has a global push, including with both gaming and gambling, with a launch of a new Virgin Games product in the US next month. It's expected to be related to AWOMO (A World Of My Own), a project in association with Game Domain International.

Concerns

Numerous gaming and igaming companies, both national and international, are concerned with the Australia government's stance on censorship, both online and offline, as well as government attempting to crack down on independent press and freelance journalists, be it Wikileaks or other.

Media Man 'Online Casino Of The Month' Winner

PartyCasino.com

The New Wave

Tech giant Google is expected to do a hard launch of Google Games in the near future, already pushing classic game 'Pac Man'. Just when they release Google gambling remains to be seen. Google already brings in substantial revenue accepting gambling and gaming ads via its AdWords etc, which are advertised in most parts of the western word. Google's YouTube portal is expected to become a massive gaming hub. Google TV was put into the public domain via news media late last week, but Media Man understands gambling was not discussed, but gaming was. 'Play For Free' or 'Play For Money' options looks to stay part of the new wave, and multi currency casino options and internet portals incorporating games - skill and games of chance is a growing trend. Sports betting is tipped go start a 3D trend and mobile gaming, on phones, SmartPhones etc is on the upswing, despite news media reports advising punters to be alert to heavy data charges associated with so called Smart Phones.

Australia remains in the world's top ten, a number of insiders saying approximately 3rd biggest gambling national on earth.

The general population finds gambling totally acceptable, with only a small but vocal group of campaigners continuing to bombard newspapers with negative stories in an attempt to facilitate "attack journalism".

Gambling is stronger than ever in the land down under, becoming almost one with the world of sports, mainstream entertainment and the general internet landscape.

Media Man and Gambling911 encourage gamblers to know the odds, bet with your head, not over it, and have fun.

*Greg Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911

*Media Man http://www.mediamanint.com is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company. Gaming (including sports betting) is just one of a bakers dozen of sectors they cover on a global basis. Media Man's casino news flagship brand is Casino News Media
They also publish Australian Sports Entertainment

*The writer owns shares in Crown Limited and Virgin

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