Gambling Around The World: The Big Picture

Dec 4, 2018 · 11 min read

Let’s take a look at the “big” numbers before moving on to the small details. The modern gambling universe is a very profitable and at the same time difficult aspect. The value of the entire industry is a very important status for every gamer. The division into two directions (real and virtual) has helped gambling achieve great success over the past 5 years.

As we can see, the United States and China are at the top of the list of countries where gambling is very popular (2015).

Who Is The Worst In Business?

Considering the individual scale of each country, we can note that Australia occupies the lowest position. In addition, Singapore only recently legalized casino gambling.

The first such entertainment appeared on the territory of America and Las Vegas is the center of all the excitement and risk, but in spite of this, the USA took only the third place ($ 505 / per capita). Ireland took the next position (with a $ 490 indicator). Despite the fact that real and even virtual gambling legalized in the UK, the country returned to $ 377.86 / per capita.

Malta is on the TOP-10 list, too. This is one of the most popular gaming jurisdictions in the world today. The small population of this island has the largest per-capita losses.

Gambling Losses Per Adult (2014) (All in US dollars)

Gambling Losses per Country 2016 (USD,Billions)

Global Gambling Industry: The House Always Wins

Statistics has always been a relative issue, so considering any list of global gambling losses, we need to pay attention to the winnings of all operators. Focusing on the last indicator, we can highlight the “top-10” best places for gambling entertainment.

It may sound strange, but Macau is a leader in this list. Probably, these high rates are due to the tourism business which is developing at a high rate here.

Despite the fact that Australia has only 22 million people, it has the largest number of slot machines.

The Greatest Gambling Nations Today

We are all equal in the gambling industry. No matter what you do, what games do you prefer how much you win / lose in an online casino. But despite this equality, some countries have achieved great success and development, as a result, they have risen above other states.

Thanks to competent regulation and effective promotion, countries such as Australia, the UK and Canada have become gambling guru since 2000. Today, these countries are home to the majority of popular manufacturers who produce new themed slot machines. Of course, this has a positive effect on the statistics of Australia / Canada / England.

Since the recession of 2008–2009, many states have used casinos and gambling entertainment to strengthen economic relations. Some of them have introduced new regulatory agencies and even legalized online and mobile gambling so that you can make bets and enjoy the game process without leaving your home.

Let’s take a look at the main players of 2016, how they use their capabilities and gambling industry.


Chinese people love and hate gambling at the same time. Here, only state lotteries for all residents are legalized. Therefore, all slot machines and gaming halls are outlawed. But the rulers of China do not know what to do with Macau, since the former Portuguese colony has a huge gaming center. Today, it is a separate administrative part of China. But Macau had a lot of pressure from Beijing on gambling.

Traveling to Macau you can visit 38 excellent casinos. Therefore, we need to consider the income from casino games in Macau (2015–2016):

January 2016: 18,684 million MOP;

February 2016: 19.520 million MOP;

March 2016: 17,980 million MOP;

April 2016: 17.340 million MOP;

May 2016: 18.387 million MOP.

Overall, the income from the Macau gaming business has declined significantly in the past few years. Cutting cash from China has forced several casinos in Macau to close. Now, Macau leaders need to find new solutions, because VIPs and ordinary players will be looking for entertainment in Canada and Australia.

United States

America has always been a leader in gambling entertainment, as the heart of Nevada helps develop this business and the industry as a whole. Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware began to regulate the gambling industry in mid-2013. Nowadays, Nevada focuses on online poker sites, New Jersey and Delaware focus on the development and promotion of legitimate gaming portals. At the same time, Sportsbetting is illegal in all states.

According to UNLV stats, income from this business is growing rapidly in the United States and isn’t going to stop. Of course, Nevada is leading in this aspect since it brought about $11,113,830 (2015) to the treasury of the United States. Now, New Jersey has a difficult time, as many casinos haven’t sustained competition and closed. New Jersey staff legalized this kind of entertainment in 2013. Today, DGE controls all online games in Garden State. The virtual business was not profitable here until 2016 when revenue rose sharply to $16 millions.

All sportsbooks / casinos / lotteries are state-based. New Jersey and Nevada legalized real gaming halls and all kinds of virtual games. The legal poker industry is becoming more popular in states like Florida and California. However, both states were against the legalization of this type of entertainment. Not so long ago, real and virtual entertainment was legalized in Pennsylvania.

United Kingdom

Great Britain was one of the first “houses” for gambling. Today it is an excellent and profitable country for such a business. Here you can find a lot of real gaming rooms, poker rooms, bingo and an amazing national lottery course. In addition, the government allows residents to play mobile online games.

How it’s governed: The gambling industry in this country has been under the leadership of the UK Gambling Commission since 2005 when this organization was created. UKGC analyzes all casinos and issues licenses for relevant activities. After the introduction of the new act of gambling entertainment (2014), all sites that provide these services must pay “Point of Consumption” tax and receive a license from the UKGC.

Online gambling in the UK: Different types of bets began to develop in 2011. During this period, the profit of this business was £ 710.19 million. This figure increased to £ 3.6 billion by 2015. Only people over 18 can visit real / mobile / online casinos.

FOBT (Fixed Odds Betting Terminals) was surrounded by rumors and disputes in land-based bookmakers. All these playgrounds offered slot machines, poker and roulette for all visitors.


Australia has been a leader in this field for 10 years thanks to new decisions and agreements. Not so long ago, the statistics and reports of Australia in the gambling industry were published.

Total gaming turnover (2013–2014)

Of course, the controversial “pokies” dominate the national industry Down Under (this is the local name for all gaming machines including fruit models). Travelers and locals can visit “pokies” in pubs of all states. By the way, pokies are limited in Western Australia, but this situation may change soon.

According to statistics, 2.9 million locals over 18 played pokie machines. 43% played only once a week. Meanwhile, the popularity of sportsbetting is growing rapidly. For example, you can bet on any sporting event in TAB outlets.

How it’s governed: some states may allow operators to carry on gambling activities. Not so long ago, the law on interactive gambling in Australia has been updated. So, all online casinos in Australia are prohibited, but some gaming portals allow Australians to register and enjoy the gaming process.


Canada is one of the countries that used a liberal approach to gambling business. Thanks to this approach, the country has achieved great success and has taken a leading position in this area. Nowadays, Canada is home to many popular operators and manufacturers.

In addition to land-based casinos in several states, Canada is also famous for producing popular online games. KGC (Kahnawake Gaming Commission) regulates the licensing of all gambling and poker sites.

In 2014, Canada had 34,955 playgrounds. Below is the casino visit statistics (2014):

Once or twice per year-53%

Once every three to five months-17%

At least once a month-19%

Average spend per player per casino visit:

Play card games like Poker-CA $ 53

Play table games like Roulette / Craps-CA $ 50

Play card games like Blackjack-CA $ 50

Play slots-CA $ 50

Visit a casino bar-CA $ 25.

Average spend per player per casino visit (CAD)

Number of venues and designated gaming areas in the Canadian gambling industry (2015–2016)

Activity Participation — Casino Visitors — Mean Spend (2015–2016)

According to official data, at least 75% (almost 30 million) of adult Canadians are addicted to gambling entertainment of any form. Canada`s betting industry makes about $ 15.5B per year to the state’s treasury.

How the Best of the Rest Stack Up

The leading positions of Canada, Great Britain and Australia do not mean that other countries do not participate in the gambling business. Let’s consider the countries where gambling entertainment will develop and become popular during the next years.

Gambling was a new kind of recreation, so about 44% of Singaporeans 18+ aged were fond of such games in 2014.

In terms of per capita wins, Germany ranked third. Here, the gambling world is popular among residents too.

$2.7 billion is the annual gambling losses of Russia in 2013.

Being the largest and most popular gaming center among tourists, Macau has attracted 30+ million customers in 2014.

The Spanish government recorded about 4 million registered players during 2014.

There are many locals in Japan who are ready to support the development of gambling business in this country. According to the official report, Japan spent about $ 30 billion during 2013.

The Rise Of Social Gambling / Casino

At the beginning of 2016, the value of the global market for social gaming portals increased to $ 3.83 billion. This is 23% more than in the middle of 2013. Experts say that the value of this market will be estimated at $ 4.5 billion by 2017. After that, Social Gambling / Casino has reached the real jackpot!

Statistics show that there were 175 million gambling gamers around the world.

Worldwide Social Casino Publishers — Market Share

In 2016, Playtika was still the leader among all social casino publishers with a 25.5% market share; SciGames-8.5%; Zynga-8%.

As of 2016, North America is the largest social casino market among all regions. Asia and Europe occupy the 2nd and 3rd places.

37% of all residents of America, England and Australia visit social casinos via mobile devices and PCs. Of course, video slots are the most popular form of entertainment, but many users also choose poker, baccarat and roulette.

Most Popular Game Models

Casino Games / Slots

The popularity of the casino is increasing every day. Most casino customers (almost 50%) choose video slots. 16 percent of gamers enjoy blackjack and only 6% of players choose video poker. Roulette received only 5% of all visitors. (Statista).

Of course, the growth of mobile gaming portals turned gambling business. Thanks to the new progressive jackpots, any casino visitor can win 7.10 or even 15 million dollars.


This is a large and rich industry which is estimated at a billion dollars. At the same time, hundreds of illegal syndicates appear all over the world including Asian countries. According to the European Gaming and Betting Association source, the total cost of Sportsbetting may increase to $ 100 billion.

Video Poker

The boom in the world of video poker happened in 2000. This kind of game develops in real and virtual spaces. Of course, players from the real world win the biggest prizes at various tournaments and competitions. But participants in online tournaments can win several million dollars too.


This type of gambling is ancient and popular in all countries, even if the casino business is prohibited. The UK National Lottery is a very popular and profitable business for the state and its residents. By 2015, lottery prizes increased by 22.5%.


According to official figures, there are 100 million online bingo players from around the world. Women make up 75% of them. Bingo brings around £ 128.5 million to the UK treasury every year.

The Great iGaming Equation

Statistics show that iGaming is developing and is not going to stop. The number of players who visit real and virtual casinos continues to increase too.

Although some regulations and laws have slowed the development of casino business in some countries. Experts say that the income from mobile casinos, games with live dealers and the entire virtual reality will increase significantly by 2020.

So, whether you’re an experienced player or a successful casino operator, iGaming continues to prove that it has excellent prospects and performance.

Jeff Jeremy

Written by

I’m fond of IT technology and gambling

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade