We’ve long been told that Australians are the biggest spending gamblers per capita in the world, but how much of this is wagered on thoroughbred racing?

Horse racing is the public face of gambling in Australia. The historical prominence of races like the Melbourne Cup looms large in the Australian psyche, and when it comes to the concept ‘having a punt’, most Australians conjure an image of a day at the track.

Recently released data from the Racing Australia Fact Book revealed that Australians turned over $26.4 billion on thoroughbred racing in 2022/23. While that is down 9.5 per cent on the previous year, it is still over three times more than what was spent in 1989/90.

However, through a comparative analysis of the official Australian Gambling Statistics and the RA Fact Book, The Straight has established that while annual legal gambling turnover on thoroughbred racing grew by close to $19 billion since 1990, that growth is dwarfed by the $179 billion extra spent each year on gambling in Australia.

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