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1 in 15 AFL and NRL Grand Final viewers could be betting on the outcome

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source Australia, July 2015 - June 2016 sample n = 14,300 Australians 18+

With two football Grand Finals over one glorious weekend, sports fans—and online betting agencies—are in for a treat. More Australians than ever bet on AFL and NRL games this past year, and the internet now dominates as the method of choice for these sports gamblers, Roy Morgan Research shows.

The latest research from Roy Morgan estimates 602,000 Australians aged 18+ (3.3%) placed bets on AFL or NRL games during the year to June 2016, up from 520,000 (2.9%) three years ago. This past year, 409,000 bet on AFL and 306,000 on Rugby League—and most bets on either football code are now being done on the internet.  

70% of AFL gamblers used a website or app to place their most recent bet on the sport, up from 48% three years ago. Rugby League bettors had initially been slower to make the shift to online sports betting, but have been catching up over the last few years: rising from 38% in 2013 to 62% in the latest year.

% of AFL and NRL sports bets done online in 2013 vs 2016

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source Australia, July 2012 - June 2013 sample n = 19,365 Australians 18+ including 271 AFL bettors and 236 Rugby League bettors; July 2015 - June 2016 sample n = 14,300 Australians 18+ including 197 AFL bettors and 157 Rugby League bettors;

Close to one in two Australian adults (47.9%) watch either or both football Grand Finals on TV. With 3.3% of adults betting on any AFL or NRL matches during the year, this is equivalent to around one in 15 Grand Final viewers who sometimes put money on the games’ outcomes.

But this proportion of bettors among viewers varies widely across age and gender segments. Men aged 50-plus are the most likely to watch the Grand Finals (63.8%), but only 2.6% of this group bets on AFL or NRL matches during the year—only around one in 25 TV viewers.

Men aged 35 to 49 are also big fans of watching either or both events (58.2%), and are also among the most likely to place bets (7.8%): a bettor-to-viewer ratio of around two in every 15—double the norm.

However the viewers most likely to make a bet are men aged 25 to 34. Although less than half this group watch the AFL or NRL Grand Finals (44.1%), almost one in 10 men 25 to 34 gamble on the sports (9.6%)—for a ratio of more than one in five bettors among this weekend’s TV audience.   

Among men, 18 to 24 year-olds are the least interested in watching the Grand Finals on TV (41.4%), but 6.7% of have placed bets on the sports—almost one in six viewers.  

Around four in 10 women watch the Grand Finals (40.1%), but of these viewers only around one in 50 (or just 0.8% of all women) bet on any AFL or NRL matches during the year.

% of each group that Bets on AFL or NRL and Watches Grand Finals

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source Australia, July 2015 - June 2016 sample n = 14,300 Australians 18+

Michele Levine, CEO – Roy Morgan Research, says:

“Over 600,000 Australians bet on AFL and Rugby League during the year—and almost three in five bettors are 25-49 year-old men, even though this group represents less than 25% of AFL and NRL TV audiences. 

“AFL was the code of choice for over 100,000 more gamblers than Rugby League, which reflects the higher popularity of the sport nationwide. However Rugby League bettors waged around 40% more on average than AFL bettors during the year. Rugby League actually accounted for 52% of all gambling expenditure across these two codes.

“All up, Roy Morgan estimates Australians spent well over half a billion dollars gambling on AFL and NRL over the past year—with 70 cents in the dollar now being waged via websites and apps.”

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About Roy Morgan

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%