The Impact of COVID-19 on the Gambling Sector in Australia

As a result of the COVID 19 pandemic, the gambling sector has been affected mainly in Australia. The landscape of gambling industries has drastically changed since shutdowns were ordered in early 2020. With venues closing and sporting events being ceased, this industry struggled to generate revenue. In Australia, where gambling is prevalent, the land-based casinos and betting venues suffered greatly. However, the online gambling sector did remarkably well. Here, we take a closer look at how the entire gambling industry in Australia has been affected by COVID-19.

Online Gambling Increased

Australia is known for having a large population of gamblers, and many enjoy playing poker machines when at a pub or club. With government lockdowns and casinos shuttered, players started switching over to online casino action where they could engage in betting on their favourite games. With many people bored staying home, there was a massive increase in the number of players creating online casino accounts and placing real money bets.

An increase in gamblers registering for accounts caused the online gambling sector in Australia to boom. Existing offshore online casino operators were attracting new players, and the industry saw the launch of many new websites. With additional ways to gamble, players continued creating accounts and spending their money playing games online. The launch of many new instant withdrawal casinos made it easy for gamblers to place bets and quickly get their payouts. With the surge of online casino activity, Australia saw gamblers betting more money and playing more often.

Those who were accessing websites regularly searched for new casinos that offered instant withdrawals. These sites provided a faster way of conducting retreats after winning payouts. With the use of cryptocurrencies also on the rise, these casinos became a top choice for Aussie gamblers. Using cryptos, players could benefit from faster withdrawals and receive payments within minutes after the operator has approved their requests.

The pandemic also caused land-based casinos in Australia to focus more on their online platforms, and the country saw many choosing to make a business transition to an online format. While Aussie residents are not legally allowed to access online casinos operating in Australia, these new online platforms allowed Australian-based casinos to continue offering services to foreign gamblers to generate revenue.

A Surge in Casino Bonuses

Not only did the industry see many sites launching, but there was also a surge in bonus offerings from operators. The effect of COVID-19 on the casino industry in Australia was positive for online operators. With new casinos launching, players had the ability to claim better-paying bonuses and benefit from more incentives. This increased the number of players signing up for accounts so they could take advantage of top paying promotional deals. Gambling in Australia remained a popular pastime throughout the pandemic due to the increased accessibility of online websites.

To attract new members throughout COVID-19, online sites developed new bonus offers that would appeal to new gamblers. This was one way for websites to compete with other operators and get players to create accounts. Some chose to offer welcome bonuses, while others tripled the amount they were offering when promotions were redeemed. There was also an increase in new member no deposit bonuses being offered. These increases and improvements of bonus deals were just one impact of COVID-19 that provided advantages to gamblers.

Gambling Addiction Numbers Soar

It is a known fact that online gambling is closely associated with increased levels of addiction, and lousy gambling habits can easily be formed when playing games online. During COVID-19, losses among Australian gamblers have increased by 50% by the end of 2020 compared to 2019. This was a cause for concern as it indicated that a number of at-risk gamblers were engaging in online betting. As land casinos remained closed in Australia, gamblers were forced to engage in online play, where they spent millions betting on casino games.

People were betting more online during the pandemic than previously. In addition, people transformed to online gambling to replace land-based play. With more spare time available due to lockdown and government subsidies sent out, players had more time and added money to spend playing real money games online.

The issue of problem gambling did not cease as one would have expected when and casino reopened. Instead, that actually caused a surge in betting. Players quickly flocked to land venues to play their favourite pokies, and experts witnessed a unique form of binge gambling. As casinos started to operate again, players resumed betting, and some increased their time in casinos along with the amount they were spending.

As a result, COVID in Australia led to accelerated growth in gambling and an increase in the number of people developing gambling addictions. In Queensland alone, there was over $300 million bets on casino games in the first month of poker machines being available again. There was also a steady increase in the amount that was being lost. Over the past year, $2.8 billion has been lost playing poker machines in Queensland, marking the highest loss amount for a single year since 2004.


There have been many economic impacts of this pandemic felt throughout Australia. Residents worried about financial security as jobs were lost and businesses struggled to remain viable. Since gambling activities remained available online, residents often turned to online casinos as a way to manage debts. Players gambled more to try to win more in an effort to counteract lost wages.

Even with land casinos now operating again, Aussie gamblers continue to engage in online betting and there is no sign of this slowing down. The effects of the pandemic have been both negative and positive throughout Australia. Despite shutdowns and loss of business, the gambling sector is one that has managed to survive and even thrive amidst CPVID-19.

About the author: Cory Weinberg

"Student. Subtly charming organizer. Certified music advocate. Writer. Lifelong troublemaker. Twitter lover."

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