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Betting on the AFL a supporter’s game

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), April 2014 – March 2015 (n=15,289).

It’s no secret that gambling in Australia is generally on the wane. Over the last decade alone, the proportion of Aussie adults who placed a bet, bought a scratch ticket, entered a lottery, played pokies or a casino table game, or took part in just about any other kind of gambling (besides the online variety) in an average 12-month period has declined from 74.1% to 57.6%. However, one group of punters appears to be bucking this predominantly downward trend: people who bet on the AFL.

In the year to March 2005, 1.3% of Australians aged 18+ (or 194,000 people) reported betting on the AFL, either in person or via the internet, in an average 12 months. Ten years later, that figure sits at 2.1% (or 390,000 people).

Not surprisingly, people who support an AFL team are more than twice as likely as the average Australian to bet on the sport, with 5.0% having at least one flutter on a match in the 12 months to March 2015. But that’s nothing compared to paid-up members of AFL clubs, 13.4% of whom bet on AFL — suggesting that the stronger a supporter’s involvement, the higher the likelihood of betting on matches.

Betting on the footy: participation by AFL involvement


Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), April 2014 – March 2015 (n=15,289).

Of the League’s 18 teams, Melbourne Demons supporters are the most likely to take a punt on AFL (10.1% doing so in an average 12 months), ahead of North Melbourne Kangaroos (8.4%) and Fremantle Dockers supporters (7.9%).

The only teams whose supporters come in below the national average for betting on AFL are the Gold Coast Suns and Greater Western Sydney Giants.

Angela Smith, Group Account Director, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“Betting on the AFL comprises a very small proportion of Australians’ overall gambling participation, but unlike most other forms of gambling, it has gained popularity over the past decade.

“While Victorians tend to be less likely than residents of other states to gamble in general, they are most likely to bet on AFL. Considering Victoria is Australia’s AFL heartland, this is hardly a surprise.

“But the above-average participation in AFL-betting among Melbourne Demons fans is intriguing. With the Demons finishing second last in 2014, and currently hovering around the lower rungs of the League ladder, could it be that their supporters are betting against them, determined to snatch some kind of advantage from the jaws of defeat?

“Also noteworthy is the fact that people from the affluent AB and C socioeconomic quintiles are more likely to have a flutter on the footy than those belonging to the lower, less well-off quintiles. This contrasts with the usual pattern for gambling, whereby people from the lower quintiles have a higher participation rate than their wealthier counterparts.”

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Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%