No matter where you live in the world or how much you bet, every player is facing the challenge of beating the odds that are never in their favor. But some countries try their luck to win more than others.
Gambling has become a major source of tourism, boosting economies worldwide. In fact, due to its success, a few countries have opened the doors for casinos to thrive and brought in regulators to ensure everything is done above board.
But who is leading the way?
Here are the countries that gamble the most and how they are governed.
China has an interesting relationship with the gambling industry. It runs lotteries that residents are entitled to play but the majority of other online gambling activities are prohibited.
Macau, on the other hand, is legal even though it is under the control of Beijing.
Macau acts as a Special Administrative Region, meaning that it has its own regulations concerning gambling. Activities are regulated by the Macau Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ), which also supports the Chief Executive of Macau with the city’s economy.
Macau is considered the gambling capital of the world (check this article for details), boasting 38 casinos such as Venetian Macau, the largest casino in the world.
In June 2019, Macau’s gross gaming revenue came in at MOP23.81bn ($2.96bn). Around 51% of all people of legal age to gamble in Macau have participated in at least form of gambling.
Yet not all is good when it comes down to Macau. Adrian Sireca, founding partner at Online Casino Gems, an online operator in the online gambling space had this to say about Macau:
“Whereas the revenue may sound impressive, everyone needs to realize that the gaming revenue in Macau has actually been on the decline for several years now. This is because China has come down heavily on the organized crime in the casinos’ VIP rooms. This, combined with a change in direction from targeting high rollers to appealing to the mass market, makes a lot of investors in Asia very cautious, and at times, skeptical, when it comes down to the future of gamlbing in Macau”.
Not surprisingly, the United States of Americain features on the countries that gamble the most. The state of Nevada is at the heart of its success, with Las Vegas pulling in billions itself every year.
In 2018, US casinos brought in more than $50 billion revenue, with the Las Vegas Strip responsible for over $6.5 billion alone. Atlantic City casinos in New Jersey made more than $2 billion in gambling revenue that same year according to Gambling News Magazine.
But while most states across the country have legalized casinos, online gambling is banned except for Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware. In these three states, you can play online poker and online casinos.
More states are legalizing gambling, such as Pennsylvania, which has liberalized land-based and online gambling in recent times too.
One thing that is common though is online sports betting. This is banned in every state, although these laws are being challenged.
Interestingly, Florida and California have legalized live poker but they do not allow online poker.
The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) is one of the strictest gambling regulators in the world. This has meant that gambling in the UK is safe, making it one of the biggest gambling markets.
The UKGC monitors all land-based and online casinos and issues gambling licenses to such establishments. Thanks to the 2014 Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act, offshore betting sites must acquire a UKGC license and pay Point of Consumption” tax if they wish to supply UK customers.
Latest publications show that the UK has a gross gambling yield of £14.5 billion and a 39% remote market share.
The legal age to gamble in the UK is 18 years old. Around 48% of all people aged 18 and over in the UK have participated in at least form of gambling.
There are many ways to gamble in the UK, such as poker, national lottery, bingo and traditional casino games like blackjack and roulette. UK residents can also gamble online and on mobile.
Australia is next on the countries that gamble the most. With famous poker tournaments like the Aussie Millions offer, going Down Under has been a great place to go and get lucky for more than a decade. Australia also has its pokies (poker machines) funding local sports and a thriving online gambling economy.
The pokies, specifically, have been dominating the homegrown gambling industry in Australia. They can be found in most local pubs and clubs but they are currently restricted to casinos in Western Australia, but this could change over the coming years.
In 2016/17, the Queensland Government Statistician’s Office found that Australians spent $209 billion on gambling. Latest figures show that 2.9 million Australians aged 18 and over have played pokie machines. This equates to around 16% of the total population of Australia, of which 42% play at least once a week.
Similar to the US, gambling in Australia is regulated by each individual state. However, the Interactive Gambling Act (IGA) 2001 has banned in-play sports betting.
While online sports betting is possible in Australia, online casinos are not. There are lots of offshore online casinos that accept Australian players but they can be subject to penalties.
Canada operates under a completely different approach compared to its North American neighbor. This has led to Canada become one of the leading countries in the world. It is also home to one of the world’s key online gambling jurisdictions, namely the Kahnawake Gaming Commission (KGC).
It’s the KGC that is responsible for granting gambling licenses to online casino and poker sites.
The most popular provinces in Canada have the largest share of gross gambling revenue (GGR) in the country:
- Ontario – 28.1%
- British Columbia – 24.6%
- Québec – 20.3%.
In 2017, Fantini Gaming Research found a yearly 5% growth in the gambling industry, totalling C$17.3 billion GGR. It also found that Toronto and Ontario were responsible for 43% of all gambling revenue generated in the whole of Canada.
While the five countries above have the largest share of the gambling industry, plenty of others are sitting at the table with a stack of chips.
Here’s a quick look at some notable contributions from across the globe:
- Nearly half of all residents in Singapore (44%) over the age of 18 have taken part in at least one form of gambling in 2014.
- The gambling industry in Japan was worth $33.6bn in 2018, growing 6.7% between 2014 and 2018.
- By the year 2021, the gambling industry in India is estimated to be worth around 71 billion rupees.