Determine the size and growth of gambling industries in the NT from 2002 to 2015


Using data collected by the Queensland’s Statisticians Office measure trends in in turnover (amount bet), government revenue (fees and taxes), and expenditure (player losses). These three measures are analysed in relation to different types of gambling industries including racing, casino (excluding pokies), gaming (pokies excluding casinos), and other gaming (instant scratch tickets, interactive gaming, lotteries, keno and pools). Both unadjusted and CPI adjusted data were analysed. 


Regulated gambling now plays a significant part in the Northern Territory’s economy. In 2014/15, revenues collected from Territory regulated gambling providers accounted for 10% of all revenue raised directly by the Northern Territory Government, and gambling expenditure through these providers was equivalent to more than 30% of all retail trade in the Territory for that year. The size of the Territory’s regulated gambling industry in 2014/15 is in stark contrast to 15 years ago in 2000/01, when the Territory’s total gambling industry was not particularly exceptional by Australian standards. At that time, the turnover, expenditure and government revenues of the Territory’s regulated gambling industry were respectively 1.6%, 1.2% and 0.8% of Australian totals, broadly consistent with the Territory’s proportion of Australia’s adult population. The intervening 15 years has seen the Territory’s regulated gambling industry rapidly expand both in terms of turnover (328%) and expenditure (377%), but with much more modest growth in government revenue (53%). Nearly all these changes were due to increases in online wagering, with combined annual turnover for Territory regulated racing and sports betting gambling activities (mostly online in the Territory) increasing 11-fold to $9.73 billion, with expenditure increasing even more sharply by 14-fold to $0.94 billion since 2000/01. Whereas, over the same period, revenues collected by the Territory government from these classes of gambling, despite doubling by the mid-2000s, have subsequently declined back to $10 million in 2014/15, close to the 2000/01 levels.  In 2014/15 the Territory industry dominated Australia’s combined racing and sports betting industries, accounting for 39.3% of national turnover and 25.8% of national expenditure. By contrast, the Territory government’s gambling revenue in 2014/15 from regulated racing and sports betting providers was disproportionately small, constituting just 4.0% of all Australian state and territory governments’ revenues derived from racing and sports betting gambling.  

Implications for policy and practice: 

It is questionable whether the current state-base arrangements for regulating the gambling industry are adequate or appropriate for protecting the best interests of Australian society given the size of today’s online gambling industry, let alone its likely future size. 

Chief investigator:
Project manager:
  • Prof Tony Barnes
Contact information:
Project dates:

August 2017 - August 2019

  • Charles Darwin University and Menzies School of Health Research Supporting Stronger Collaboration Grant
  • The Northern Institute


  1. Barnes, T., Stevens, M., Thoss, M. & Taylor, A. (2017)  The size and growth of the Northern Territory’s Gambling Industry. Northern Institute Working Paper 08/2017. Darwin: Northern Institute and Menzies School of Health Research.