The Melbourne Cup, known as the “race that stops the nation,” seems to have lost its appeal among Australian gamblers. According to the latest Essential survey of 1,049 respondents, only 11% expressed a high interest in the race. This marks a significant drop of 5 points compared to the previous year’s survey.
Despite being a popular public holiday in Victoria, with workplaces and schools closing at 3 PM, 27% of respondents said they were somewhat interested, while 35% admitted to having no interest at all in the iconic race. Additionally, 24% stated moderate interest, and 3% were undecided. Men showed more interest than women, with 13% of men expressing high interest compared to only 9% of women.
Younger individuals between the ages of 18 and 34 were more interested in the race than those older than 55, with nearly two-fifths of respondents indicating that they would bet on the race. However, 41% expressed no interest in betting at all, and among bettors, men were more likely to place wagers than women.
Despite the lack of personal interest, 65% of respondents still consider the Melbourne Cup a unique part of Australia’s national identity, down seven points from previous years. However, only 50% of young people agreed with this statement, with 48% believing that the Cup supports unhealthy gambling behavior and over 36% stating that it normalizes animal cruelty.
The disengagement of Australians with the Melbourne Cup is attributed to an increasing number of sponsors and brands separating themselves from the event. As a result, the once legendary race is now met with indifference by the majority of Australians, who have little to no interest in the event.