Demographic Insights into the Decline in Electronic Gaming Machine Participation in South Australia

Paul Delfabbro, Daniel L. King

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Participation in electronic gaming machine (EGM) gambling has declined sharply in Australia over the last two decades. At the same time, there has been a gradual slowing and decline in revenue from this form of gambling. In this paper, we use data drawn from a series of population surveys in a single jurisdiction (South Australia) to gain insights into these changes. In particular, we examine whether changes in EGM participation have been reflected similarly in different demographic groups. The results indicate that there have been declines in every age group, in both men and women, and at different levels of household income. However, the decline has been greater in some groups than others, including for women, for middle aged groups (46–64 years), and for those living in the metropolitan area. The paper discusses some of the socio-demographic explanations for these changes. In particular, we highlight the role of population ageing and its potential implications for the long-term future for this form of gambling. EGM gamblers are now older and are not necessarily being replaced by a new generation of younger gamblers, which has implications for the industry and the State government finances as well as gambling-treatment services. At the same time, the evidence we present here does not, however, indicate a strong trend towards a concentration of EGM gambling in more vulnerable groups (e.g. disproportionately in lower income groups or the unemployed).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2342-2354
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Mental Health and Addiction
Issue number6
Early online date21 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • Age
  • Decline
  • Demographics
  • Electronic gaming machines
  • Gender
  • Participation


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