Australians set to spend Aus$2 million on political wagering
By abigail
Australia is joining in on the betting frenzy accompanying a political election. Like the US the upcoming Australian federal election is generating a great deal of interest amongst the online gambling population of the country, just one week after the date was announced. Yesterday the online bookmaker Centrebet announced their prediction that AUS$ 2 million would be spent taking bets on the outcome of this political race.

Last week, which was the first week of a six week campaign, $100,000 was wagered, which included one single $30,000 bet on a Liberal/National coalition victory. At the moment the reigning Liberal government led by John Howard are being offered as the favourites. Centrebet did also reveal however, that 60 percent of the bets placed so far are opting for a Labour victory led by Mark Latham.

Centrebet’s sports betting manager Gerard Daffy said of the campaign and the ensuing interest: 'There's little doubt given the closeness of it and the length of the campaign that betting will probably get beyond $A2 million, which will make it the single biggest event that Australians bet on with Centrebet this year…'We all have to vote so why not turn that into some dollars. . . The betting is running along the same lines as the last election. If John Howard doesn't put his foot in it the odds for the government can only get shorter...Mark Latham needs to start pulling rabbits out of hats.'

It is expected that more money will be spent wagering on this political battle than on the AFL or NRL grand finals- quite a feat when taking into accounts Australia’s passion for both sports and gambling. Gambling has always been a part of the country’s culture, and Australia now has the highest rate of gambling in the world. More than 20 percent of the global total number of poker machines are held in Australia, which equates to about five times the number in the States, when translated into a per capita basis. In financial terms, Australians gambled AUS$15 billion in the twelve month period up to 30 June 2002- a record figure at the time, it accounted for about two percent of the GDP of the country.

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