Wednesday, 7 March 2012

A to Z of Australia - G is for Gambling and Generosity

Gambling is a very big part of the Australian culture, it´s said that almost 90% of Australians gamble!
On average each person loses close to 900$ a year on gambling. They seem to gamble on everything from "horse-racing", to "which club will win the footy", or "how many years will Kate and William be married for", "frog jumping" get the idea!
Most forms of gambling are legal in Australia, and it can be done in Casinos, hotels, clubs, TAB (totalisator agency board), machines in pubs and bars (pokies), online, lotto, scratch cards, etc.
A lot of pubs have gambling licences and have separate rooms full of Pokies (or poker machines), and some have live TV coverage of live racing that you can bet on, which helps keep these bars in profit.
Thankfully the State of Western Australia does not have them, I do not think drinking and gambling should be mixed either!

On a single Saturday, gamblers will spend around $80million in gambling, with the individual State governments in turn earning millions in revenue from taxes. In fact gambling brings in more income than car registrations. Lotterywest reinvests 34cts from every ticket sold, into the community, so anytime there is a huge jackpot millions of dollars are donated to the various charities by the Government. So it´s not all that bad!

According to Australian Government statistics released in Oct 2011, there is one Pokie machine for every 108 people (10th in the world - Monaco being the first with 1 machine for every 22 people), with a total of 200,057 machines in pubs and clubs, the 7th highest number in the world (behind Japan, the US, Italy, the UK, Spain and Germany).
I have visited a few casinos, just out of curiosity, take photos of the buildings and see the atmosphere,  and have noticed there are posters and pamphlets everywhere for people with gambling addiction, even in various foreign languages...Hope they make use of them.
What amazes me the most is whenever I take visitors to the Burswood complex, I see loads of retirees coming out of buses (possibly they were picked up from their respective Nursing homes or retirement homes where they live) being dropped at the Casino´s door for a few hours of gambling. Wow, is this for real?
Another open mouth moment was watching some people gamble at the Melbourne Casino, they would just hand the croupier wads of notes to buy gambling chips or to bet at poker!
What a waste, especially when I would then see them lose it all!

Gambling Poster with foreign languages

In Perth the Casino, is inside the huge Burswood Entertainment complex which comprises of two hotels, spa, various restaurants - some quite exclusive and expensive, others reasonably priced, bars, some boutiques, convention and meeting rooms, ballrooms, outdoor cinema, theatre and The Dome where international entertainers perform. 
This complex is surrounded by huge grassed areas next to the river Swan, where families can  picnic or play in the grass, cycle or walk or wander around admiring the numerous status and the river views.
So even if you don´t gamble, there is plenty to do outside the Casino doors.

Burswood complex at night.

Playing hop-scotch in the Burswood park
One of the lakes and Swan statues in the vast gardens
Playing in the park in front of the Burswood complex
Changing from Gambling into Generosity - Australians are known to be one of the most generous people in the world when it comes to contributing to world disasters and other charities.
According to 2007 (couldn´t find anything more recent) figures Australian taxpayers were donating an average of 0,33% of their income, with the richer (earning over $1 million) giving 2,43% of their income.
Total giving in 2005 amounted to $11billion, with 87% of the adult population (i.e 13,4million people) donating $7,7million and 67% of businesses donating $3,3billion in money, goods and sponsorships. 
In Australia donations over $2 are tax deductible. Apart from December when Australians open their heart and wallets to charities, it´s during the months of  May and June that most people donate, which coincides with the the end of the financial year in June. 

I remember during a few of the natural disasters like the Black Saturday fires in Victoria (7 Feb 2009), the Queensland floods (Jan 2011), the Japanese earthquake and tsunami (March 2011), the company my husband works for, collected donations from the employees and matched them dollar for dollar, and I know a lot of the big companies do that.
I am of the opinion that the richer and more fortunate you are, the more you should do to help out the less fortunate in the world.
But even if you aren´t rich and powerful, you can still donate to whatever worthy cause is close to your heart, because every dollar counts!!
You never know, one day you might find yourself in the receiving end of that donation if you happen to fall victim of a natural disaster (knock on wood)!


  1. Hi Sami,interesting to see how prevalent gambling is. I remember being astounded at how many pokies there were all over the place when I was in Australia. I went to the Melbourne casino one night and watched the roulette tables for a while but I was too scared to try them. I don't like losing money and I had very little at the time!

  2. great post! it's hard to reconcile the large amounts of money some people gamble with when there is such poverty and need in the world!
    love the photos too - the hopscotch one is great - the statues look like the ones we have out here in Monchique!

  3. Sami, great article! It is interesting to see our gambling through non-Aussie eyes!

    Not that I gamble, but what you say is true!

  4. :-) Again I see similarities with The NL. We can find here and there small casinos where to play (what confuses me because most of the Dutch are Calvinists and they value their savings) . Also they are very generous helping others in difficult situations. NL is one of the major contributors in the world for non-profit organizations. Only in my househoold we help 3 organizations, among other things we do.
    The building and the statues are very pretty!
    You are gorgeous in the photos! :-)

  5. Julie - yes, there are just far too many pokie machines, glad WA doesn´t have them in bars.In Melbourne is also where I saw lots of people gambling big bucks, they were mostly Asian,who are know to enjoy gambling.
    Alyson - true that money could very well go to worthier causes.
    Robyn - thanks for the comment, I don´t want to offend anybody, but comparing to little poor Portugal, a lot of people do waste a lot of money.
    Sandra - interesting that you can see similarities with the Dutch both with the gambling and the generosity!

  6. I can never understand the fascination of gambling. Had the odd bet on gh GiGi's if we went to the races, but that was it. Interesting post and something else I've learnt about Australia

  7. Really 90% of Australians? Hmmm! I wonder if, like myself who buys a $7.80 lotto ticket once a week, is that classed as gambling and included in that statistic! Interesting post Sami.

  8. Hi Grace, I would think that Lotto would fall under the gambling statistics, otherwise I don´t see that 90% of Australians go to casinos or play pokies in bars. I also buy a lotto ticket only when there are big bucks on offer, lol.

  9. I love these A-Z posts! They are so informative. You must really do your homework!
    P.S.- I can't wait to win the giveaway! ;)

  10. Thanks Lovely light. I do a bit of research and I keep little bits of information from the newspapers that might come in handy for my posts.

  11. Hi Sami, I was just waiting for you to mention the retirees! They always seem to be on the screen whenever there's a casino shown in a film! The thing that creeps me out a bit is how they make the whole shebang so family friendly - gambling isn't the kind of habit I'd be encouraging in my kids so hanging out around casinos wouldn't be on my itinery. The gambling business, despite causing havoc and misery to so many, seems to have muscled it's way into the family arena, with a little help from Governments eager to cream off their taxes.

  12. I grew up in WA and was very shocked when I moved to Adelaide at 21 - the pokies were everywhere and all the supermarkets had bingo ticket gambling stalls in them! I loathe gambling because my first marriage was destroyed by it.

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