Whether it’s online casinos, poker, sports betting or lotteries, millions of people play every day. Even in 2020, the global gambling industry had a turnover of about 500 billion dollars, but of course, there are countries where you play more and others where you play less.
Gambling spending: the top 10 countries
Research by H2 Gambling Capital ranked the 10 countries with the highest per capita spending on gambling. Here they are, remembering an important detail: when we talk about money spent in the game we mean lost money, since the expenditure figure is nothing more than the difference between the money played and the money won, therefore returned to the pockets of the players.
Although gambling is legal in Spain, neither casinos nor slot machines are the Iberians’ first choice. Sports betting is very popular here, as in many other countries where sport, and football in particular, is very popular. The contribution of land-based casinos, well distributed throughout the country, is good.
The Greeks do not disdain online casino games and online poker, although national lotteries are top of the list here. The difference with Spain is really minimal, in terms of spending for the game. Combined with the income figure, it becomes more emblematic: per capita income in Spain is about 30 thousand dollars, against just 20 thousand for the average Greek citizen.
In Norway, politics is quite tight when it comes to gambling, as only two operators can offer real money games. However, this does not prevent Norwegians from spending an average of $ 448 each, especially on online bets and casinos. However, these are affordable figures, considering the over 80 thousand dollars of average income.
You say Hong Kong and you think of nearby Macau, the “new Las Vegas” with some of the most luxurious casinos in the world. The paradox of Hong Kong is that gambling is almost completely prohibited in this country. There is only one company that can operate, accepting bets and organizing lotteries. But this is enough to make Hong Kong a country where about $ 500 a year is lost each year in the game. Not a few, but in the end just 1% of the average income (almost 49 thousand dollars a year).
Yes, we are also in this ranking. Poker, casino, sports betting, but also instant win games such as scratch cards and classic lotteries. Then there is the question of land-based casinos, an area that should not be underestimated because the 4 Italian casinos are famous all over the world. Their crisis has undoubtedly taken something away from the sector in recent years, but on the other hand, the online market travels quite well and holds, despite the crisis and illegal gaming which is limited but not eradicated. Italians lose $ 517 a year, corresponding to approximately 1.5% of per capita income. A percentage that must however make us reflect considering that for example the Norwegians play a lot but spend only 0.5% of their income.
Second Northern European country on this list. In Finland, gambling is regulated by the government, and around $ 533 a year is spent each, again around 1.1% of GDP per capita. According to the government itself, the over 65s are the ones who play more . However, as we recalled in the infographic, Finland remains a model country for the virtuous system, which keeps problematic or illegal gambling phenomena under control.
Canada is a country where gambling is widespread, so much so that about 3 out of 4 Canadians bet, play the lottery, casino or online poker at least once a year. Each year, $ 568 a year is spent in the green North American country. Compared to the averaged $ 46,390 each Canadian earns, we are on the order of 1.2%.
Although Ireland only opened up to online casinos a few years ago, their popularity is steadily growing. The Irish, however, have a sort of fetish for dog racing , which gives rise to a rather thriving betting market. Also for this reason in Ireland about 588 dollars a year are spent to gamble, but let’s never forget the comparison with the standard of living and other indicators that return a decidedly serene picture. The average Irish citizen earns a salary of $ 78,000, so losing these figures can be affordable for many.
Another “high stakes” country, with a massive influx of wealthy tourists who come specifically to play in casinos. However, the government is concerned about the local population, who earn very well on average (over $ 65,000) but play and lose $ 1,174 a year in the game. As a percentage it is about 1.6%.
The palm of the nation where the world’s most gambling is, however, goes to Australia, where slot machines, casinos, bets and lotteries are very popular. The expense is really high, considering that an Australian loses an average of $ 1288 a year in gambling, compared to an average income of $ 55,000. A percentage of 2.4% on annual income is the highest of all, but the evaluation must take into account another fact: in the land of kangaroos, winnings are not taxed .