DESPITE a controversial year for greyhound racing in 2015, data from Roy Morgan Research shows wagering on the dogs remains consistent and the mean punter age is eight years younger than the average bettor on horse racing.
Throughout the year, it was estimated 600,000 Australian adults placed a bet on at least one greyhound race, with the average age of the person placing the wager being 41.
The lower age average has been driven by the overwhelming popularity of greyhound racing among Australians within the 25-34 age bracket, with this demographic making up 34.2% of all wagers placed.
The research shows this group is 80 per cent more likely to bet on greyhound races despite only making up around one fifth of the population.
The second largest age bracket betting on the dogs was 35-49 (29.3 per cent), followed by 50-64 (19.2 per cent), 18-24 (10.9 per cent) and finally 65 plus, who made up 6.4 per cent.
A further positive for the industry was the figures showed wagering has stayed relatively consistent over the past 10 years, with betting on horse racing slowly declining.
“In 2005, 24% of people bet on at least one horse race; in 2015, around 18% of us did,” Angela Smith, Group Account Director at Roy Morgan, said.
“Greyhound racing, meanwhile, seems to be on-trend and last year’s live baiting scandal, revealed on Four Corners in February last year, had only a marginal effect on betting incidence.
“Not only has its popularity been consistent over the past decade, but Aussies aged 18-34 now make up nearly half of greyhound bettors, compared with only a quarter of horse racing bettors.”
A spokesman at Roy Morgan Research said it wasn’t a new trend to see the majority of greyhound punters from a lower age demographic than those who bet on thoroughbred racing.
“Generally, the ‘youth’ of greyhound bettors isn’t new, and it’s been more skewed to 18-34 year-olds and less to 35+ (and vice versa for horse racing) for the past decade,” the spokesman said.
“However 10 years ago it was 18-24 [year olds] who were most likely to bet on greyhounds during the year, and this has been declining while 25-34 is up.
“This suggests those who were betting on greyhounds a decade ago (when they were 18-24) have continued as they’ve moved into the 25-34 group, but not been replaced by new entrants turning 18-24.
“However even though 18-34 are more likely to bet at all during the year on greyhounds, those who bet do so less often than bettors 35+, and spend less per race, and overall, in a three month period.”
The spokesman explained it was hard to pinpoint why greyhound racing has attracted the younger punting crowd, but said the live baiting scandal does not appear to have had a huge impact on betting numbers thus far.
“Overall, younger greyhound bettors are more likely than older ones to say they bet on the spur of the moment or to play to win a large chunk rather than accumulate smaller wins,” he said.
“But there are quite a few differences even between 18-24 and 25-34, which would need more investigation by a client, but also again suggest a generational shift…
“In terms of the post live baiting scandal, we analysed more detailed month-to-month data on top of these full-year figures we release publicly, and while there was perhaps some less greyhound betting from around March to August 2015, it’s not clear whether or not this was due to the scandal and media attention.
“The lower results over this period were still within the range of what we’d seen over the previous years, so could also be due to things like seasonality of when races are held, or just statistical variation.
“If the live baiting scandal had an impact, it doesn’t appear so far to be that strong, and from our perspective it will be necessary to keep tracking it to see what happens throughout 2016.”