Will Casino Tourism in Australia Recover? The Market Predicts a Bounce Back for 2023

Nicknamed Lucky Country, Australia is a region traditionally famous for its rolling wine country, cute koalas, lush rainforests, and swathes of tropical beaches. However, something many, not nearby Oz know about it is that it is home to a booming casino scene. Around twenty high-end gaming establishments spread throughout Australia offer slots, poker action, and classic table games. The most renowned of these is Melbourne’s Crown Casino, which ranks as the most massive gambling facility in the country. The Star Casino in Sydney, Crown Casino in Perth, and Treasury Casino & Hotel in Brisbane are three other 24/7 establishments considered mega resorts by Oceania standards.

In 2019 the Australian government released reports that showed that the country raised close to 6.6 billion Australian dollars in tax revenues from the gambling industry for that year. That is a stark contrast to what this sector generated in 2010 when the nation’s annual revenue from gambling was $4.9 billion. Though, it must get pointed out that only $733 million from this figure were from gaming taxation. $3.669 billion came from hotels and clubs associated with this sphere. Above two hundred thousand Australians work in this industry, with it paying out more than $11 billion in salaries and wages yearly.

The impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic got felt in Australia in the past three years, and the blunt force of virus-induced lockdowns got experienced by the country’s gambling sector. Per numbers found on the Ibis World website, trading restrictions caused this outlet to predict in 2017 that gambling in Australia would take an annual revenue tumble of 9.9%. Thus, the events that unfolded post-March 2022 did not help land-based gaming in the Land Down Under, as the nation’s two biggest operators, Crown Resorts and Star Entertainment, received hundreds of millions in debt packages to stay afloat. The latter claimed it lost $198 million primarily due to COVID closures. But, new research now predicts that casino-based tourism may return strong in Australia, starting in 2023.

Why Brick-and-Mortar Gaming Will Mount a Comeback

In March 2020, the two discussed Australian gaming powerhouses (Crown Resorts and Star Entertainment) made dramatic budget cuts, attempting to survive the unpredictable economic storm, with Crown Resorts standing down somewhere in the neighborhood of 95% of its 11,500-employee pool. The SkyCity Entertainment Group, the operator of gambling properties in Adelaide, Auckland, Hamilton, and Queenstown, also opted to furlough a sizeable section of its staff, pausing the work status of eleven hundred employees.

In June 2020, select casinos in Australia reopened, while some closed down shop forever. Those who decided to swing their door wide in the summer of 2020 had to do with capacity limits, physical distancing restrictions, and hygiene measures in place. Some, like Casino Canberra, got back up and running in 2021, and Sydney’s Crown Casino reopened its VIP section in July 2022, two years after this area of the facility got closed.

In late 2021, Analysts at Fitch Ratings, a famed Finance, and insurance company, predicted that the APAC casino region would bounce back quickest in 2022. The firm stated that Australia’s venues should outpace other APAC territories that heavily depend on tourism in the recovery phase, such as Malaysia, Singapore, and Macau. Expectations were that domestic mass-market gaming revenue would return to pre-pandemic levels in 2022, with VIP profits likely lagging. That proved somewhat accurate, but vacation rentals, package holidays, camping, and hotel stays were all down in 2021 compared to 2019. Thankfully, Australia’s tourism market now gets projects to grow at a rate of 2.62% starting from 2023 throughout 2027, reaching a market volume of 15.76 billion US dollars, with the hotel segment experiencing the most drastic expansion.

Casino operators are hopeful that this influx of visitors will help the gambling industry to come close to previously attained heights. In the second half of 2022, the arrival of fifty-plus cruise ships to the ports of Cairns aided the Reef Casino in seeing a respectable revenue boost. Therefore, many other gaming venues logically believe that the more tourists enter Australia, the better their bottom lines will grow. In the 2018-19 season, domestic and international tourism spending totaled $122 billion in the country, generating $60.8 billion in the direct tourism gross domestic product, making the importance of this business segment to the nation’s economy super visible.

The Pandemic Sent Australia’s Gamblers Online

Despite the Australian tourism industry echoing an optimistic long-term outlook, questions have risen regarding how the brick-and-mortar gaming sector will handle the substantial number of Australian gamblers that have moved to play games of chance over the internet.

Per an Australian Gambling Research Centre survey published in October 2020, one in three participants said they signed up to gamble online in the first few months of the global pandemic. In 2021, the Australian online gambling market reached four billion US dollars in annual revenues, exhibiting a potential yearly compound growth rate of 8.1%. Data shows that this sector segment gets primarily driven by increasing smartphone adoption and inflating income levels.

Some concerned parties have expressed worry that increasing internet gaming activity can lead to dramatic economic and social damage to Australian society. Those arguments get boosted by statistics that cast light on the fact that Australia recently overtook Britain in online sports betting losses.

Blackjack Is Unproportionally Popular in Australia

Blackjack is the planet’s preferred table gaming product because it has simple rules and delivers a terrific winning probability. Though, in US gaming spots, its popularity is decreasing as twenty-one tables now account for around 47% of dealer games in American casinos, compared to 1987, when this percentage stood at 77%.

Yet, in Australia, blackjack is notching record highs, ranking as the top table pick in front of roulette and dice options. Also, online blackjack remains an Aussie favorite before all other RNG and streaming dealer choices.

To Sum Up

With Australia expecting to see international visitor expenditure surpassing pre-pandemic levels in 2024, the outlook for the country’s casino sector, which is reliant on tourists, looks good. It should not only bounce back in 2023 but grow.

Why Do We Need Limits In Online Casinos?
Why Do We Need Limits In Online Casinos?
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