Aussies gamble over US$84 billion the past year
By maddy
From the period between June 2002 to June 2003, Australians have pumped in over US$10 billion into slot machines, sports betting, casinos and lotteries - online and offline.

The Australian Gambling Statistics report works this out to be A$1,016.85 (US$689.40) for every Australian aged 18 or over - a rise of more than A$21.95 per person (US$14.90) from the previous year.

The gambling industry and the government arenít complaining since taxable revenue is up, but Australian social groups sing a different tune.

In essence, the average Australian spends 3.4 percent of his or her familyís after-tax income on gambling. Total gambling turnover - the amount spent on wagers before winnings - rose 6.56 percent to A$125 billion (US$84 billion) from last fiscal year.

Anne Hollonds, CEO Relationships Australia, shares her concern, 'Gambling is fine if you're a well functioning mature person who doesn't have a tendency to have addiction, but if you're emotionally vulnerable in any way, it can be absolutely devastating.'

The Northern Territory residents, who live in the most isolated northern region of Australia were the biggest players, betting an average A$1,576 (US$1,068) a year.

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