Productivity Commission Draft Report on Australia’€™s Gambling Industries

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GST Legislation: Royal Assent
July 8, 1999
Productivity Commission Report on Australia’€™s Gambling Industry
July 20, 1999
GST Legislation: Royal Assent
July 8, 1999
Productivity Commission Report on Australia’€™s Gambling Industry
July 20, 1999

Productivity Commission Draft Report on Australia’€™s Gambling Industries



The Productivity Commission today released its draft report on Australia’s

gambling industries.

This report is the first of its kind in Australia. The report’s findings on the

social impacts of gambling are important and should be carefully considered by all levels

of government.

The Commission has found that most Australians participate in gambling in some form and

many gamble regularly. It finds that 330 000 Australians (2.3 percent of adults,

15 percent of regular (non-lottery) gamblers) could be considered ‘problem

gamblers’, with 140 000 experiencing severe problems.

Given that at least five people are affected for every problem gambler, this means a

substantial number of Australians are affected by the problems of gambling. Problem

gamblers account for over $3 billion in losses annually — one-third of the

gambling industries’ market. They lose nearly $12 000 per year, compared with

$625 for other gamblers.

Overall, the Commission found that, whilst the gambling industries produce little net gain in jobs or GDP, the enjoyment most Australians

derive from gambling results in net benefits. The Commission considers that policy should

be directed at reducing the costs of problem gambling. The Commission has made some

interesting observations on consumer education, particularly in the matter of informing

players about the odds of winning.

The Commission has addressed the issue of Internet gambling. The Federal Government

will examine the implications of the Commission’s report for federal regulation,

including the regulation of gambling availability on the Internet.

The value of a public inquiry was demonstrated by the Commission’s finding that

community consultation has been deficient in many policy decisions on gambling. The

Commission’s survey found that three quarters of those surveyed believed that

gambling does more harm than good, and 92% of people do not want to see an increase in

gaming machines.

This is a draft report, which will be finalised following a further round of

consultations, including public hearings and submissions from interested parties. The

Government will consider its response after the final report is received on

26 November 1999.


The Government commissioned the inquiry in response to concerns within the community

about the effects of the gambling industries in Australia, and because there was limited

information on the performance of the gambling industries and their economic and community

impacts in Australia.

The inquiry is being undertaken by the Chairman of the Commission, Gary Banks, and an

Associate Commissioner, Robert Fitzgerald, who was President of the Australian Council of

Social Services from 1993 to 1997 and has held senior honorary positions with Australian

Catholic Relief, Job Futures and the St Vincent de Paul Society.

The terms of reference asked the Commission to report on the nature and definition of

gambling activities, the participation profile of gambling, the various economic and

social impacts of gambling, the effects of regulatory structures governing the gambling

industries, the implications of new technologies, the impact of gambling on

governments’ budgets and the adequacy of ABS statistics on gambling.

People who want to register their interest in the inquiry or obtain a copy of the draft

report can find details on the Commission’s website (

or apply directly to the Commission. For more information contact Ralph Lattimore,

Assistant Commissioner (Productivity Commission, Canberra) on (02) 6240 3242.

19 July 1999

For further information: Mitch Fifield

Michael O’Brien (Treasurer’s office) (03) 9650 0244