Like most other forms of gambling, betting on horse races is slowly losing popularity among Australian adults. In the year to September 2004, 8.3% of Aussies 18+ bet on horse-racing at least once in any given four-week period — but by September 2014, this had dropped to 5.3%. However, come Melbourne Cup and Spring Racing Carnival time, the percentage of the population having a flutter inevitably jumps up.
In November and December last year, 10.0% and 10.8% respectively of Aussie adults reported betting on horse-racing in the previous four weeks. That’s quite a difference from the 4.0% who reported doing so in October 2013 and the 5.4% in January 2014.
As the chart below shows, this trend is fairly consistent over the last four years, although the December figure has seen some decline.
Betting on horse-races month by month: a pattern emerges…
Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), July 2010 – September 2014 (n=76,877).Average monthly sample n=1,507
Despite the increased punting activity around Melbourne Cup time, the proportion of Australians 18+ who watch the race on TV has gone down in recent years. Whereas 10 years ago 39% of Aussie adults said they tuned in for the event, this figure has since dropped to 31.1% at the year ended September 2014, making it less popular than the AFL Grand Final (33.7%) but more popular than the NRL Grand Final (25.6%).
Angela Smith, Group Account Director, Roy Morgan Research, says:
“Although betting on horse racing has been in decline across Australia for at least a decade, the Melbourne Cup (and the spring racing season generally) always causes a punting flurry, with significantly increased betting incidence around November and December.
“So much of the PR for the Melbourne Cup and the Spring Racing Carnival is clearly targeted at young people with its focus on fashion, fun and frivolity. Yet when we use Roy Morgan Research’s in-depth consumer profiling tool Helix Personas to analyse who is most likely to bet on horse racing and who’s most likely to be watching the event on TV, the results paint a different picture.
“Among the personas most likely to bet on horse racing are Rural Rewards, typically older, country-based couples with conservative attitudes; and Frugal Living, elderly people on low household incomes for whom having a flutter at the TAB is one of life’s little pleasures.
“Rural Rewards are also the persona most likely to watch the Melbourne Cup on TV. Smart Money — typically well-off, middle-aged and very sociable — are also more likely than most to tune in to the big race. Chances are they’ll catch it at a Cup Day lunch or barbecue somewhere, surrounded by a bunch of like-minded friends.
Roy Morgan Research
Roy Morgan Research is Australia's best known and longest established market research and public opinion survey company. Roy Morgan Single Source is thorough, accurate, and provides comprehensive, directly applicable information about current and future customers. It is unique in that it directs all the questions to each individual from a base survey sample of around 55,000 interviews in Australia and 15,000 interviews in New Zealand annually - the largest Single Source databases in the world. The questions asked relate to lifestyle and attitudes, media consumption habits (including TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, cinema, catalogues, pay TV and the Internet), brand and product usage, purchase intentions, retail visitations, service provider preferences, financial information and recreation and leisure activities. This lead product is supported by a nationally networked, consultancy-orientated market research capability.
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