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Melbourne Cup: Fears Aussies chasing gambling win for grim reason

The race that stops the nation won't stop our spending.

So, cash-strapped Australians scrutinising every dollar during the cost-of-living struggle will take it easy on Melbourne Cup Day, right? Don't bet on it!

Call it supreme optimism, desperation, lunacy or a combination of all three, but we are expected to wager even more on the Cup than usual, partially in a bid to pay back our growing debt.

Forget saving for a rainy day – we're spending like we'll never see another drop.

Composite image of Melbourne Cup horses racing, a losing gambler, a winning gambler.
Composite image of Melbourne Cup horses racing, a losing gambler, a winning gambler. (Getty)

Survey data from Finder indicates Australians will outlay, on average, $180 per person on the first Tuesday in November, with around half that figure invested with bookies.

That's despite yet another predicted interest rate hike from the RBA shortly before they jump at Flemington.

The race that stops the nation won't stop our spending.

The Finder survey found:

  • More cash-strapped Aussies are turning to gambling as a 'quick fix' as expenses spiral out of control

  • Almost 1 in 5 Australians (18 per cent) have increased their gambling habit over the past year

  • 3.6 million Aussies have increased their spending on everything from Powerball to pokies to the races

  • The research found 3 per cent are trying to win money because they’ve fallen behind on bills, while another 3 per cent hope to pay off debts;

  • Millennials (29 per cent) are twice as likely as Gen X (12 per cent) to be gambling more


Have you turned to gambling in an attempt to ease cost-of-living pressures? Tell us your story at

"The interesting thing that's happened with the cost-of-living crunch is that we've actually seen some people gambling more," Finder's finance expert, Taylor Blackburn, told Yahoo Finance.

"Eighteen per cent of people say they are gambling more. The really troubling bit is they say they're doing it because they're falling behind on bills and are trying to pay off debt.

"When we actually dig into the numbers, there's more people saying they're living pay cheque to pay cheque than ever before. Some of those are chasing their losses through gambling."

And, as usual, it's those who can least afford it chasing the hardest.

"Those retirees with money in the bank making 5.5 per cent [in interest] are doing a lot better than Millennials and Gen Z, who are struggling a bit more," Blackburn continued.

"There'll be a certain percentage of people who are gambling for fun and a certain percentage that are gambling to try to make up the shortfall to pay bills.

"There's only one guaranteed winner on Cup Day – the bookies."

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Yahoo Australia