Australian’s Are The Biggest Punters On The Planet but why?
We talk with a punter named Damo at the TAB, delve into some statistics and some of our special days…
As Aussies we absolutely love a punt. You go down to the local watering hole and the TAB area will be full of your local punters trying to jag a horse on the nose. That’s where you’ll find all the inside info on anything you can possibly imagine. Some say it’s more than just an area for punting but a place where degrees in gambling are given out. If you go there long enough you’re bound to get a punting professor take you under his wings.
We took a trip down to Gympies local RSL on a Friday arvo and went to the TAB area to get a feel for what it was like to be amongst the action. I tell you what, this is not a place to bring kids. Most sentences are started off with “Ya fucken cunt of a thing” or “you little bloody beauty”. If you’ve been, you know. Lots of swearing, lots of yelling and lots of beers. Nice place to be actually.
We met with Damo who was 29 and from the area. He was still dressed in his hi-vis gear from work that day. He had a early knock off that day and had been sinking beers for a hour or two before we met with him. This was his ritual and he’d been hitting the TAB every Friday for as many years as he could remember. This is what he did to blow off steam. Some people like going surfing, some like playing footy, Damo likes to sink beers and bet on the dogs.
BBB: “Damo, thanks for doing this interview with us mate, how’s the punt going?”
Damo: “It’s not fucken’ going at all. I couldn’t pick a winner in a one dog race. Fucken dish lickers.”
BBB: “What got you into punting?”
Damo: “My old boy loved a punt back in the day. We’d do form in the mornings and hit the track later that day or listen to the radio. He was a shit punter and naturally so am I. As you see today.”
Damo soon left as he’d “Done his ass in”. Our brief chat with him was cool and we couldn’t help but think of the others in the area who had a similar story. After all most of the men here had some sort of work clothing on. Almost all of them had a cold stubby.
It seems like a good way to blow off steam. Have some beers, scream at the top of your lungs at which ever animal you’ve put money on, celebrate the win with a loud cheer or insult the pathetic animal which lost you a pineapple. What we learnt from Damo was this was passion. Punting isn’t a fad that comes and goes, it’s a passion that sticks for most people for most of their life, that they always enjoys no matter winning or losing.
The emotions of a punt.
It’s got to make you think what makes Australians love gambling so much? Over 80% of Australian adults engage in gambling of some kind, this is the highest rate on PLANET EARTH! Literally no one loves gambling more than Aussies. Claim to fame or not so much?
I think we should look at our culture first and foremost. Our characteristics as Aussies. What makes us love gambling so much? We are dubbed ‘The Lucky Country” and Aussies are well known across the globe to be happy go lucky in nature. Generally our wages are good and we have more expendable income which allows us to gamble more of what we earn. Australia has some of the best weather, it’s never “cold and miserable” like some of the European countries, which in turn makes us happier and we feel luckier. Does this have anything to do with us loving punting so much? Maybe, maybe not. But would we be generally in a good mood and feel lucky, which in turn lets us feel confident betting real money? Its definitely a possibility.
What about the availability of the ability to punt? Australians may have the most opportunity to punt aswell. 6,807 hotels, pubs and clubs give the opportunity to punt. 4,700 lottery outlets. 2,800 TAB retail outlets. Sky Racing which is available in 2.6 million homes. 6,200 keno terminals. We get alot of opportunity to punt! With all those outlets there is an obvious demand for them, having all these outlets does not answer that question, “where does the demand come from?”.
Between 2008-2009 the total government revenue from gambling was $19,000,000,000. That’s $19 BILLION. That’s a lot of money for people to lose in a year. We’re probably looking at a $50 Billion dollar loss for the punters in that year considering the amount of money the corporations would have made. Not a bad industry to get into. It’s scary to think how many problem gamblers lost everything that year and how many new ones lose everything every year. In the NSW Hunter region the pokie machines are making $8,682 PER MINUTE. Bloody good business.
Having a slap on the pokies.
Another avenue to look down as to why we love punting so much is to look at the events we have each year which involve betting money. We have in no particular order some huge events Australia has each year;
- Melbourne Cup
- AFL Grand Final
- NRL Grand Final
- ANZAC Day
- Australia Day
- Boxing Day
Four out of those six are a sport which we love to punt on. You could even throw in the Sydney to Hobart race on Boxing day, knowing Aussies if we’ll bet on cane toads on Magnetic Island we’ll bet on a boat race!
Australia Day can be thrown in there as well as the Australian Tennis open is on and so is the Big Bash League.
Some quick facts – The most watched television show for the previous 3 years of 2014, 2015 and 2016 was the AFL Grand Final, with 3.2 Million viewers in 2016. In fact 10 out of the last 15 years the show with the most TV viewers for that year has been sporting related.
The most watched T.V in 2016 after the AFL Grand Final was;
- State of Origin 1
- The NRL Grand Final
- State of Origin 2
- State of Origin 3
As you see sport is at the top of Australian’s priorities and interests when it comes to TV and viewing and it’s no coincidence that punting and sport go hand in hand.
I remember being in primary school and on Melbourne Cup day the class would shut down and we would cram into a room with a TV to watch the race. In primary school! I’m sure other Australians have experienced the same. The whole of Australia stands still for horses to race around a big grass circle. ANZAC day has the famous gambling game “Two-up” which is heavily integrated into the culture of that day. It’s a great fucking game by the way, especially with a coldie!
With so many special days in Australia throughout the year that involve some form of gambling is it any wander we love to punt?
Soldiers playing “two-up”.
The top 5 most watched events for 2016 in Australia were either AFL or NRL related. Pretty impressive to think it beats out “Masterchef” and all those other bullshit reality TV shows that people love buying into with the drama.
When it comes down to it Aussies love the REAL drama of a sporting event with the unfakeable emotions that come with it. Especially when punting.
The competing culture is engrained into us. If we can’t compete in the game itself we like to compete off the field with who’s right or who’s wrong. The ultimate way to find out who’s willing to put their balls on the line is the one willing to bet their money on their predicament.
And that’s what it is. Aussies like to punt because we are a nation that likes to compete.