New figures revealed the highest gamblers were Generation X – born between 1961 and 1975 – along with baby boomers and pre-baby boomers.
New figures revealed the highest gamblers were Generation X – born between 1961 and 1975 – along with baby boomers and pre-baby boomers. Chrissy Harris

Don't ever start gambling: Counsellor to Gen Y

A SUNSHINE Coast gambling counsellor has issued a stern warning to young people - don't ever start.

The advice came as new figures revealed the highest gamblers were Generation X - born between 1961 and 1975 - along with baby boomers and pre-baby boomers.

The counsellor, who wished to remain anonymous, was not surprised that older people were the bigger gamblers.

"It's part of our culture," he said. "We're the only country in the world that has a public holiday (in Victoria) for a horse race."

He added that history showed gambling increased in Australia during times of economic hardship.

"They've taken a hit with their super, so what are they going to do? They go out and take a gamble to try to win some back, to keep their lifestyle," he said.

"If you're a pensioner on fixed income and gambling, you're not going to survive."

The research by Roy Morgan revealed 63% of baby boomers had gambled in the preceding three months, followed by 56% of pre-baby boomers and 54% of Gen X.

However, younger people were less likely to gamble. Around 39% of Generation Y (born between 1976 and 1990) gambled in the last three months and 27% of Generation Z (born 1991-2005).

The counsellor suggested problem gamblers came in all ages, and feared younger people were bombarded with the temptation to gamble.

"Young people come to (counselling) but they slip away. But where is their social life - it's in the pubs and clubs. They get sucked back into it."

Jane Ianniello, international director of tourism, travel and leisure at Roy Morgan Research, said Generations Y and Z were less likely to do any gambling except if visiting casinos and doing online betting.

"Generation Y and Z tend to be more impulsive and less driven by habit than the older generations in their approach to gambling," Ms Ianniello said.

"Whether they're playing the pokies or buying a lottery or scratch ticket, the decision to do so is often made on the spur of the moment."