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Australians splashing around millions on race day


Laine Gordon

By Laine Gordon

3 min read

The 154th Melbourne Cup will again bring the nation to a standstill tomorrow. But are Australians galloping ahead of themselves and splurging on their credit cards to get in on the festivities?

Throwing the money on the horses

"Total expenditure equates to about $1,287 for each separate visit to the four-day Melbourne Cup Carnival," IBISWorld general manager (Australia) Karen Dobie said in reference to 2013's spending. 

IBISWord predicted a 12.4 percent increase in spending by Melbourne Cup attendees between 2012 and 2013. Coming into 2014, this figure could well increase again. 

In 2013, expenditure was predicted at $68.1 million. But just what are Aussies spending their money on when it comes to this famous event?

Looking good and eating well

According to IBISWorld, the biggest sector for Melbourne Cup spending was food and beverages, which marked an estimated 3.3 percent increase year-on-year to 2013.

During 2012, Aussies forked out $162.5 million on food and beverages during the Melbourne Cup Carnival — a figure that surged to an estimated $167.9 million the following year.

But Aussies aren't just pulling out their credit cards for canapes and champagne. 

Fashion and beauty spending reached $46.7million dollars in 2012, and this figure jumped 13.9 percent to $53.2 million the following year. While a new dress, fascinator or trackside-ready pair of shoes could be highly desirable, you might start to wonder if Aussies' savings accounts are taking a hit in order to keep up with the hype.

Betting a popular Aussie sport

It's not just the Melbourne Cup that captivates the nation's residents — and their wallets.

Events such as the Brownlow Medal are surging in popularity, according to new research from IBISWorld.

"The Brownlow Medal is the most prestigious individual honour in the AFL, and is quickly becoming the most popular betting event on the Australian sports calendar outside of the Melbourne Cup," explained IBISWorld Industry Analyst David Whytcross.

"Australians are increasingly betting on the outcome of such events, with spending on sports betting forecast to rise to $425 million this year."

In fact, the horse and sports betting industry is set to grow over the years ahead, thanks to better technology and more products on the go. Aussies are even betting via their smartphones nowadays.

While an event like the Melbourne Cup and the prestigious Brownlow Medal can drum up national pride and make a positive contribution to local economies — if not the national economy — individuals should be aware of the impact on their credit cards if they get a little too into the betting spirit! 

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