The latest nationwide gambling figures show Australians lost almost $23 billion between 2014 and 2015, up nearly eight per cent on the year before.
- Pokies were the single biggest source of gambling losses at nearly $12 billion
- Racing losses were almost $3 billion and Lotto just under $2 billion
- One expert says limiting the amount of advertising might be a positive step
While half of the amount was on pokie machines, there was also a 30 per cent increase from sports betting.
One expert has attributed the growth to advertising campaigns and the advent of smart phones.
Dr Charles Livingston, a gambling researcher at Monash University's School of Public Health and Preventative Medicine, said the rate of growth from sports betting had doubled from the previous few years.
"The massive growth in sports betting is unrivalled, I think, in the history of Australian gambling."
And while sports betting is one of the smaller portions of the gambling market, with $814 million lost, he predicted it would only get bigger.
"I think this latest surge of growth is really directly attributable to the massive marketing and advertising campaigns that the online bookies have been engaging in in the last few years," Dr Livingston said.
"Which has been fuelled by the takeover of local bookies by international operators from the UK and Europe.
"And certainly the advent of smart phones and their big take up amongst young people has fuelled this growth."
The latest Australian gambling statistics are complied by the Queensland Treasury on behalf of all other Australian jurisdictions.
They have shown pokies to be the single biggest source of gambling losses, at nearly $12 billion.
Loses to racing stands at almost $3 billion, with Lotto just under $2 billion.
'Gambling reform will only work if from a federal level'
Dr Livingstone said per capita Australians were the world's biggest gamblers.
And he said the figures were proof for the need of gambling reforms, which could only be addressed at a federal level.
"I think the place to start, fuelled by these figures, is with the unremitting promotion of sports betting which we've seen over recent years, which is undoubtedly fuelling this massive increase in revenues."
Dr Livingstone said limiting the amount of gambling advertising would "almost certainly be a positive".
"But we also need to look very carefully at a proper system of regulation," he said.
"This is an area where the Federal Government has absolute control through the Interactive Gambling Act and its control of media communication.
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