Which countries gamble the most? We answer that question by counting down the top 10 countries that like to gamble.
Gambling has come out of the shadows over the last couple of decades—especially via online or mobile. For many years, casinos were frowned upon and sports betting was prohibited, but now the laws are loosening around the world as countries are far more friendly to the popular pastime. Truth be told, it’s always been popular; it’s just mostly been underground.
With that in mind, we’re taking a look at which countries gamble most. Of course, we’re only dealing with the action that takes place in the regulated markets, so the real numbers are far higher. At any rate, let’s explore which countries game more than the rest:
- Gambling Per Year: $37 Billion
China is one of the biggest economic superpowers and gambling is one area where their people exhibit quite the strength. Taking a look at the number, nobody spends more on gambling per country than China. While that might be a surprise, since gambling is outlawed in many parts of the country, the truth is that the Chinese love to gamble. Macau is the main hub where they do it but there are also reportedly lots of underground action.
The Chinese believe in luck quite a bit as well as the concept of it. Each New Year, they wish each other luck, prosperity, wealth and health. Many test their luck out in Macau, and as the numbers show, they’re the busiest country in the world when it comes to gambling.
4. United States
- Gambling Per Year: $36 Billion
Coming in right behind China is the United States, who–of course–loves to gamble. Whether it’s horse racing, major league sports or even making bets among friends, many Americans will be on whatever action is on the table.
The landscape is rapidly changing in the United States, though, so expect this number to go up. It doesn’t mean that there is more gaming going but it does mean more of it will happen in regulated and licensed markets. For example, sports betting only recently became legal in many states (and is on it’s way in others).
While many have been betting on sports online in all sorts of different places, the numbers weren’t fully tallied in the number above because of where the gambling was happening.
Now that sports like New Jersey has legalized sports betting (along with many others) and a number of states have permitted online or event traditional casino gaming, the United States should move into the top spot in the coming years.
- Gambling Per Year: $18.5 Billion
You’ll see a trend that plays out through this list: wealthy Asian countries love to have fun at the casino. Japan is our second entry from the continent in the list— the economic powerhouse loves to have a little action.
What’s interesting is that casinos were only recently permitted to open up shop and they’re still vying for licenses. So with no full-fledged casinos open, where are the Japanese gambling so much?
The answer? There are certain loopholes in the gambling code, which allows certain forms of gambling. The Japanese love to bet on horse racing, which is legal, and so is gambling on motor sports. Lotteries are also a popular trend as is Pachinko, a type of game that’s permitted due to some work arounds. Think of it as a slots-type of game but winners have to walk across the street–outside of the venue—to collect their “winnings”. It’s not ideal, but it works.
Look for Japan’s gambling number to skyrocket in the coming years. So far, the government has said that three casino licenses will be made available. Once those are doled out and the casinos begin construction, we should see this number slowly creep up higher.
2. Republic Of Korea
- Gambling Per Year: $6.1 Billion
Another wealthy Asian nation on the list is South Korea, which has a blossoming casino industry these days. What’s bizarre, though, is that there is only one place where locals can go: the Kangwon Land Casino & Hotel. That’s right, even though the country has more than 20+ casinos, local citizens can only go to the one.
So how does the country account for $6.1 billion in yearly gambling revenues? Well, there are many other options for what they can bet on. They can play the lottery, they can bet on horse races, boat races and even cycling. However, casino action is strictly limited and prohibited.
Koreans still love to gambling, though, it’s just that they tend to do it elsewhere. Like the Japanese and Chinese mainlanders, many Koreans will travel to Macau – the Las Vegas of the East – for their gaming needs. There they can freely play without any concerns.
In terms of the country itself, they’re walking a tight rope where they love to welcome the foreign money to come in, build casinos and create jobs, but they
- Gambling Per Year: $6.1 Billion
Germany is another country on this list that’s expected to move up – or at least see their numbers grow in the coming years. For a long time, gambling was prohibited in Germany in different ways but it does look like the levies are about to break.
There is new regulation expected to come into play this year that will lift the ban on online casino gaming, online slots and online poker. Also, the floodgates are expected to open up for sports betting as providers will be able to apply for licenses (unlimited number of licenses) while casinos will as well (limited number of licenses). On top of that, there is still a lottery that’s run by the state.
What does this all mean? Well, a country of 83 million people is going to have many more avenues to play. Right now, there are casinos in all 16 states, so its’ not as if it’s inaccessible. However, the gaming numbers are expected to explode higher once patrons are able to simply log in online and play casino, poker, slots or whatever else they feel like rather than having to actually drive to a casino.