Demographic characteristics associated with gambling participation and problem gambling severity were investigated in a stratified random survey in Tasmania, Australia. Computer-assisted telephone interviews were conducted in March 2011 resulting in a representative sample of 4,303 Tasmanian residents aged 18 years or older. Overall, 64.8 % of Tasmanian adults reported participating in some form of gambling in the previous 12 months.
The most common forms of gambling were lotteries (46.5 %), keno (24.3 %), instant scratch tickets (24.3 %), and electronic gaming machines (20.5 %). Gambling severity rates were estimated at non-gambling (34.8 %), non-problem gambling (57.4 %), low risk gambling (5.3 %), moderate risk (1.8 %), and problem gambling (.7 %). Compared to Tasmanian gamblers as a whole significantly higher annual participation rates were reported by couples with no children, those in full time paid employment, and people who did not complete secondary school. Compared to Tasmanian gamblers as a whole significantly higher gambling frequencies were reported by males, people aged 65 or older, and people who were on pensions or were unable to work. Compared to Tasmanian gamblers as a whole significantly higher gambling expenditure was reported by males. The highest average expenditure was for horse and greyhound racing ($AUD 1,556), double the next highest gambling activity electronic gaming machines ($AUD 767). Compared to Tasmanian gamblers as a whole problem gamblers were significantly younger, in paid employment, reported lower incomes, and were born in Australia. Although gambling participation rates appear to be falling, problem gambling severity rates remain stable. These changes appear to reflect a maturing gambling market and the need for population specific harm minimisation strategies.