Gambling in all its forms has long been a pastime enjoyed by significant numbers of Australians. Whether it’s horse racing, sports betting or casinos, the sums wagered in Australia annually are thought to be in the region of AUD$18 billion (USD$12.87 billion), which is about AUD$1500 (USD$ 1073) for every man, woman and child in the country. Around 70% of all Australians are estimated to take part in a form of wagering activity every year.
By far the most popular form of wagering in Australia is slot machines, or pokies as they are called locally (derived from ‘poker machines’). These first arrived illegally in the country not long after their first appearance in the US in the 1890s, although it wasn't until 1956 that they became legal when they were sanctioned in New South Wales.