We check out the most recent global gambling statistics and compare the personal data, popular games, and revenue to find out the best gambling nations in ten world in 2022.
We have broken down all the important numbers and arranged them into bite-sized chunks so you can digest them at your leisure, from the industry’s financial might to player-specific tendencies.
Whether a poker player is calculating their pot equity, a roulette player is calculating their odds of winning, or an operator is releasing their latest revenue report, numerical data pervades every aspect of gambling. Get a handle on the numbers so you can make the most of your game!
The Big Picture of Gambling Around the World
Before we get into the finer points, let’s start with a broad brush and paint by (the large) numbers. The gambling industry is a diverse and sometimes complex beast, but when you look beneath the hood, you’ll notice that its numbers are encouraging.
Starting at the top, the most important statistic for gamblers today is the overall value of the industry. The gambling industry, which is divided into two main verticals, live and online, has grown rapidly over the last five years.
When we look at gambling profits by country, China and the United States come out on top.
- 24.3 billion USD
- 23.5 billion USD
- 12.4 billion USD
- 4 billion USD
- 4 billion USD
- 3.8 billion USD
- 2.7 billion USD
- 1.8 billion USD
- 1.79 billion USD
- 1.74 billion USD
Online Gambling Statistics
According to global gambling statistics, approximately 26 percent of the world’s population gambles. That equates to approximately 1.6 billion people worldwide gambling, with 4.2 billion gambling at least once per year. In terms of online gambling and demographic statistics, a UK study found that 17 percent of the population gambles online, resulting in 5.3 billion British Pound in revenue for the online market alone.
In the United States, the figures are quite different; in 2016, only 3 percent of the 4.2 billion people who said they gambled regularly said they gambled online. However, this figure must have increased in subsequent years, as the revenue for the US online gambling market in 2018 was 306.5 billion USD.
Who’s Doing Worst?
When it comes to individual gambling, Australians currently lead the way. In 2014, Australians spent more than 916 USD per person, with Singaporeans coming in second at 891.16 USD. Singapore only recently legalized casino gambling, so the per-person spending is not surprising.
Despite being the home of Las Vegas, Americans rank third with 505.44 USD per capita, followed by Ireland and its liberal gambling policies with 490.39 USD. The United Kingdom, which has legalized both land-based and online gambling and has one of the world’s best licensing jurisdictions, is far behind at 377.83 USD
The gambling industry continues to demonstrate that it is one of the most vibrant entertainment economies in the world. Malta is another intriguing top ten. The small Mediterranean island has a small population but one of the world’s highest per-capita losses. Malta is a leading gaming jurisdiction with many of the world’s largest online gambling sites and affiliates.
Global Gambling Industry: The House Always Wins
Stats are always relative, so when you look at the list of global gambling losses, you are also looking at the gambling wins for operators. With that in mind, here is a list of the top ten places for gambling revenue based on visitor numbers.
It is worth noting that Macau ranks first in terms of per-person revenue. However, Chinese nationals do not appear on our top ten list of gambling losses. Macau’s tourist industry has struggled recently, but visitors ensure that the former Portuguese colony remains at the top.
Australia appears to rank high in terms of revenue and losses. The country has more “pokies” (slot machines) than most countries, despite having only 22 million people.
Top Gambling Centres
When it comes to gambling, we’re all on the same side. When we ante-up live or online, we are all competing against the odds, regardless of where we live, the games we play, or the amount we wager. However, some countries have risen higher than others in recent years, much like a stack of casino chips.
So, which country has the most gambling? Since the turn of the millennium, the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and Macau have emerged as gambling gurus through a combination of regulation, innovation, and effective promotion.
Let’s look at the major players in 2022 and how they’re leveraging their industries to become world gaming leaders. To access the statistics for each country, click the “Stats for” link.
Even though gambling is illegal in mainland China, Macau is a gambling haven. Gambling alone accounts for half of Macau’s revenue. In 2018, the city earned nearly 38 billion USD.
The gambling industry in the United States is worth 261 billion USD and employs 1.8 million people. The majority of these are in Nevada because gambling is illegal in the majority of states.
The UK market is steadily expanding as legislation changes. The British gambling industry made 14.4 billion British Pound in 2018, and it is estimated that 32 percent of the population gambles weekly.
80 percent of the Australian population gambles. According to a recent study, they bet more than any other country, spending approximately 18 billion USD per year.
With a liberal gambling policy, Canada earns 17.3 billion Canadian Dollars in revenue from gambling each year. The industry expanded by 4.9 percent in 2017 and continues to expand.
The casino is undoubtedly the largest game industry over here.
Gambling has a love-hate relationship in China. It has state-run lotteries to serve its 1 billion or so residents, but most online and live gambling is prohibited. The main issue facing China, or at least its government, is what to do with Macau.
The former Portuguese colony now has one of the largest gambling centers in the world. In China, it serves as a Special Administrative Region. And, while it is not entirely governed by
Beijing has been subjected to intense pressure from the mainland to wean itself off gambling revenue.
The Macau Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) regulates gambling in Macau. The DICJ also assists Macau’s Chief Executive in developing economic plans for the city.
Macau has 38 casinos, including major projects from global players such as Sands and Wynn, as well as Melco Crown.
Revenue from casino games in Macau 2016 (2015)
- May 2016: 18,389 million MOP (MOP20,346)
- April 2016: 17,341 million MOP (MOP19,167)
- March 2016: 17,981 million MOP (MOP21,487)
- February 2016: 19,521 million MOP (MOP19,542)
- January 2016: 18,674 million MOP (MOP 23,478)
For several years, Macau’s gross gaming revenue (GGR) has been declining. Many casinos are struggling as a result of a crackdown on cash flowing from China to Macau. A shift in casino focus to mass entertainment could change Macau’s fortunes. Otherwise, VIPs and high rollers will continue to seek out new gambling destinations such as Australia, Singapore, and the Philippines.
2. United States of America
Games: Poker, casinos, sports betting, horseracing, lottery, Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS), bingo. With Macau, the United States remains the global gambling leader, with Nevada’s liberal casino industry assisting.
While the majority of states have outlawed online gambling, many have legalized casinos, either on tribal reservations or privately run. Most US states also have state lotteries. Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware were the first states to regulate online gaming in 2013. Nevada now has legal online poker sites, and Delaware and New Jersey have legal online casinos and poker sites as well. Sports betting on the internet is illegal in every country.
According to UNLV statistics, commercial casino gaming revenues in the United States have been steadily increasing for a few years:
Nevada, understandably, leads the way in terms of its share of US casino gambling, with 11,113,830 USD in 2015. However, New Jersey has had a difficult time. Casinos have closed in Atlantic City, as casino revenue has dropped from 5.2 million USD in 2006 to 2.5 million USD in 2015.
Following the relaxation of internet gambling laws, New Jersey legalized online gambling in 2013. The Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) regulates legal internet gaming in New Jersey.
How much money does gambling generate each year? In 2017, the total gross revenue was 158.54 billion USD; in 2018, it was 161.24 billion USD. The largest share came from Pari-Mutuel betting in 2017. By the following year, it had shifted to Bookmaking, with a 430 million USD revenue.
Lotteries, casinos, and sportsbooks are governed on a state-by-state basis. Sportsbetting is still illegal online in the United States, but the law is being challenged as DFS becomes more popular (Daily Fantasy Sports). Nevada and New Jersey have legalized land-based casinos, and some online gambling is also legal. The legal live poker industries in California and Florida are thriving. Both states, however, have resisted calls to legalize online poker. Pennsylvania’s land-based and online gambling markets were recently liberalized.
3. United Kingdom
Sportsbetting, poker, lottery, bingo, horseracing, casino, mobile gaming, and social gaming are all examples of games.
The UK, as one of the first gambling markets and a leader in regulation thanks to the UK Gambling Commission, has posted some impressive numbers in recent years. The UK is unquestionably a great gambling nation, from the number of betting outlets to the overall size of the market.
The United Kingdom has land-based casinos and poker rooms, as well as bingo and a regulated national lottery. Brits can also play for real money on mobile and online gambling websites.
How it’s governed: Gambling in the United Kingdom is regulated by the UK Gambling Commission, a regulatory body established in 2005 after the then-Labour government decided to liberalize gambling laws.
The UKGC is in charge of monitoring casinos and issuing online gambling licenses. Since the introduction of the Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act in 2014, all offshore betting sites wishing to supply UK customers have been required to pay a “Point of Consumption” tax and obtain a UK Gambling Commission license.
In 2011-12, online and mobile betting generated a Gross Gaming Yield (GGY) of 710.19 million British Pounds in the United Kingdom.
Online gambling in the United Kingdom: Remote betting has grown dramatically in the United Kingdom. In 2011-12, online and mobile betting generated a Gross Gaming Yield (GGY) of 710.19 million British Pounds. According to new legislation, that figure has risen to 3.6 billion British Pounds for 2014-15. Brits over the age of 18 are permitted to gamble in land-based casinos, online, and via mobile.
There has been some debate about so-called FOBTs (Fixed Odds Betting Terminals) in brick-and-mortar bookmakers. These gaming terminals provide casino-style slots and roulette to passers-by on the street. Despite campaigns to limit bets and the rate at which players lose, FOBTs continue to fuel a massive domestic betting industry.
Participation in Online Gambling in the United Kingdom by Age
For more than a decade, Australia has maintained its gaming dominance by being an innovator in connecting the industry and the wider community. Australia has posted some impressive gambling stats in recent years, thanks to a combination of pokies funding local sports, Asian tourists visiting live casinos, and a thriving online economy.
Total gaming revenue (2013-2014)
The controversial “pokies” (poker machines) dominate the Australian industry. These are the slang terms for slot machines or fruit machines. Pokies can be found in pubs and clubs across most states, in addition to land-based casinos in Melbourne and Sydney. Pokies are currently only available in casinos in Western Australia. That, however, could change.
According to the most recent figures, 2.9 million Australians over the age of 18 played pokie machines, accounting for approximately 16% of the adult population. 42 percent played at least once a week.
Sportsbetting, on the other hand, is on the rise. Australians can bet on a variety of sports at state-run TAB outlets.
Individual states have the authority to allow local operators to house poker machines. Tabcorp and Tatts have a monopoly on live sports betting and lottery in Victoria.
The Interactive Gambling Act (IGA) of 2001 was recently amended to make ‘in-play’ sports betting illegal in Australia. Some online sports betting sites operate in Australia, primarily Online casinos are not permitted in the Northern Territory. Many offshore online casinos based in other countries continue to accept Australian players.
Canada has benefited from its gambling liberalization by serving as a hub for several online gambling operators and software providers (unlike its North American neighbor). The Canadian gambling industry is now one of the world’s leading gambling regions, thanks to this combination of innovation and regulation.
In addition to major land-based casinos in British Columbia and Ontario, Canada is home to one of the world’s most important online gambling jurisdictions. The KGC (Kahnawake Gaming Commission), located outside of Montreal, licenses online casinos and poker sites.
Number of gaming spots in the Canadian gambling industry (2014) = 34,955
Several times millennials visited casinos as of Jan 2014:
Once or twice per year = 53 percent
Once every three to five months = 17 percent
At least once per month = 19 percent
Average spend per player per casino visit:
Play card games like Poker = CA$53 (40 USD)
Play table games like Roulette/Craps = CA$50 (38 USD)
Play card games like Blackjack = CA$50 (38 USD)
Play slots = CA$50 (38 USD)
Visit a casino bar = CA$25 (19 USD)
Average spend per player per casino visit (CAD)
In the Canadian gambling industry, the number of venues and designated gaming areas (2015-2016)
Participation in an Activity – Casino Visits – Mean Spend (2015-2016)
It is estimated that at least 76 percent of adult Canadians gamble in some way. As of 2017, that percentage accounted for nearly 30 million Canadians. (The exact number is 29,650,033). The betting industry in Canada is estimated to generate more than 15.5 billion USD per year.
How the Best of the Best Fare
While the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada have the largest stocks in the industry, that doesn’t mean the rest of the world is out of chips.
Before we wrap up our gambling statistics assault, let’s take a look at some of the most impressive figures from some of the world’s rising stars.
Despite being a relatively new gambling market, 44 percent of Singaporeans aged 18 and over engaged in some form of gambling in 2014.
Germans win an average of 115 USD per year, placing them ninth in the world in terms of per capita earnings.
In 2013, Russia’s annual gambling losses totaled 2.7 billion USD.
Macau, now regarded as the world’s largest live casino hub, attracted 31.5 million visitors in 2014.
In 2014, 3.9 million Spanish players registered with online gambling sites.
With a population of 127 million, Japan has a large enough population to support the country’s gambling industry. According to one report, Japanese gamblers spent 31 billion USD in 2013.
The Increasing Popularity of Social Gambling/Casino
The global social casino market was valued at 3.81 billion USD in 2016. Since 2013, the social casino market has grown at a CAGR of +23 percent. The social casino industry was expected to hit the jackpot in 2017, generating 4.4 billion USD. Analysts predict that the industry will reach 4.63 billion USD by CY20, representing a 5 percent CAGR over the next four years.
There were an estimated 173 million gamers worldwide in 2015.
Market Share of Global Social Casino Publishers
Playtika continued to be the largest social casino publisher in 2016, with a 25.4 percent market share, followed by SciGames Interactive with an 8.4 percent market share and Zynga with an 8.1 percent market share. The top three companies accounted for 42 percent of the total social casino game market, while the top 15 accounted for roughly 83 percent.
Top Social Casino Publishers in 2016
- GSN Games
North America had the largest social casino market of any region in 2016, with 1.7 billion US dollars, followed by Asia and Europe.
In the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia, 37 percent of PC and mobile players play social casino games such as slots, poker, bingo, blackjack, roulette, and baccarat. Slots are the most popular type of social casino game, accounting for 53 percent of all social casino players.
With 58 percent, the United Kingdom has the most players.
The Most Popular Casino Games
Casino gambling is frequently lumped in with a broader “betting” category that includes bingo and lotteries. However, casino gambling increased from 32 percent in 2007 to 35.1 percent in 2013.
According to the most recent data from US casino visitors, nearly half (48 percent) played slots, with only 16 percent playing blackjack and 6 percent playing poker. Roulette accounted for only 5 percent of a popular play. (Statista).
The rise of mobile and online slots has resulted in some big winners. Progressive jackpots have been responsible for some life-changing wins in recent years, with players taking home prizes ranging from 5 to 7 million USD.
Sports betting is a multibillion-dollar industry on a global scale. However, due to Asia’s unregulated sportsbetting market, the industry as a whole could be worth many billions more. Illegal gambling
Sports betting syndicates in China and elsewhere have been responsible for fortunes being made and lost on sporting events.
In the global market, regulated sportsbetting accounted for 58 billion USD. In 2016, that figure is expected to exceed 77 billion USD. (European Gaming and Betting Association).
Since its peak in the early 2000s, online poker has grown in popularity. The shutdown of US-facing websites has resulted in a decrease in internet traffic. Even in regulated markets, online poker numbers are down. This coincides with a general increase in the number of players wagering in live cardrooms.
The biggest prizes are still being awarded, with the World Series of Poker main event champion taking home between 7 USD and 10 million USD. The most popular online tournaments attract enough participants to award million-dollar first prizes.
Lotteries are legal in many countries, including those that prohibit traditional betting and casino-style gambling. According to the EGBA, lotteries’ share of overall online gaming will increase from 2.3 percent in 2013 to 4 percent in 2016. The National Lottery in the United Kingdom raises funds for charitable organizations while also providing players with the opportunity to win large sums of money. Lottery prizes increased by 22 percent between 2012 and 2015, from 3.38 billion British Pounds in 2012 to 4.13 billion British Pounds in 2015.
It is estimated that there are now approximately 100 million online bingo players worldwide, with 70-80 percent of them being women between the ages of 30 and 50. In 2015, the online bingo industry’s annual gross-gaming yield from UK customers was £128.64 million, or 3 percent of the total online gambling market share.
In 2015, the online bingo industry’s annual gross-gaming yield from UK customers was 128.64 million British Pounds or 3 percent of the total online gambling market share.
The Great iGaming Formula
The gambling industry is currently thriving, as evidenced by the statistics. The number of players anteing up is clearly on the rise, from live casinos in Canada to the online economy in Spain.
Although the global recession and regulatory issues have slowed the growth of the gambling industry over the last decade, the overall balance sheet remains positive. Indeed, as we look to the future, technological advancements such as mobile casinos, live dealer games, and, potentially, virtual reality are assisting in raising annual revenue to record levels.
So, whether you are an operator, a player, or simply someone who enjoys numbers, the gambling industry continues to demonstrate that it’s one of the world’s most vibrant entertainment economies.
Forecasting the Future of Global Gambling
There is arguably no industry in the world today that can match online gambling’s sheer growth and drive. Globally, innovation is gaining traction, with more brands than ever competing for player attention and more people betting as a result.
Given the current state of global gambling, everyone is looking ahead. However, as most will attest, predicting the future of the gambling world is a difficult task. To help clarify the situation, we’ve broken down the data to give you an idea of what’s to come.
Set to Top 635 Billion USD.
The astounding value of the casino industry in 2017 is immediately apparent, with a predicted value of 635 billion USD in the coming years. To dig deeper into this statistic, consider the two key components in the growth of casino gaming: The United States and the United Kingdom. Cash revenues in the United States are expected to reach 21.14 billion USD, while online gambling revenue in the United Kingdom is expected to reach 4 billion USD. These two figures alone account for a 5.7 percent increase in the global gambling market before
The growth of casino play, in general, has been enormous, but almost entirely in the online domain. Land-based casino play is still on the decline, except for a few select regions, as it has been in recent years. We can only assume that as new online markets emerge, the online casino industry will continue to dwarf land-based operations.
Europe Leads the Way
Europe is the largest market for online gambling, which should come as no surprise. During 2015, the EU market accounted for 47.6 percent of the 34.6 billion EURO in online gaming gross wins (stakes minus winnings) generated globally. While the success of online gambling in Europe is well known, what contributes to the continent’s position as a gambling leader is its level of innovation, particularly through the growth of successful casino platforms. However, given the fragile nature of EU politics since Brexit, concerns have been raised about how economic protectionism will impact gambling in Europe in the coming years.
Macau’s gambling habits have always been prominent, and statistics show that gambling activity on Chinese shores is only increasing. Macau casino revenue continues to grow at a steady 1.1 percent year on year. This puts Macau on track to exceed its yearly gross gaming revenue targets.
According to current data based on infrastructure, visitation, and rising spending growth, it could reach 53 billion USD by 2022. This information comes from a Morgan Stanley report titled “Macau 2022 – Power of Compounding.” The analyst states in the report, “We believe the quality of growth will be better, as more than 80% of the forecast profit should come from the mass market segment.” The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, which connected the HK and Macau regions with the city of Zhuhai on mainland China, opened in 2018. Hengqin island in the city also continued its massive development project, intending to make the entire connected region a world centre of leisure, tourism, and gaming. We also believe that by 2022, there will be greater clarity regarding license renewal, development capex, and infrastructure ramp.”
Macau, except for Las Vegas, maybe the only place in the world where land-based casino play is truly flourishing, thanks to strong and consistent growth figures.
Australia’s Expanding Presence
Looking at the state of global gambling by country, the gambling levels in the United States, United Kingdom, China, and Japan are well documented. What will be less obvious is Australia’s role in the industry’s expansion. According to statistics, the average loss per gambler in Australia exceeds that of other countries, coming in at just under 1,000 USD. Singapore ranks second on the list, with an average loss of $650 per adult.
With Australian players willing to part with larger-than-average amounts of disposable income, Australia will undoubtedly play a role in the future of online casino gaming.
Female Gamblers Are on the Rise
Aside from nation-by-nation progress, another major factor that needs to be addressed is the number of females who gamble, as they are now playing a more active role in profit margins than ever before. According to UKGC data, women now account for approximately 40 percent of all gambling activity in the UK.
Games like bingo have always been popular among women, but it appears that many are now shifting their attention to other games, specifically slots, as time passes.