The gambling industry is complex and varied in both its output and the people who use it. Trying to wrap your head around the value of this market is tricky at the best of times. That’s why anyone who’s interested in the industry should look into gambling statistics to get an idea of how gambling businesses are doing around the world.
These statistics will let you know where the biggest gamblers in the world are, how many of them are gambling online, and how they like to spend their money.
Gambling Capitals of the World
Macau is arguably the gambling capital of the entire world. According to world gambling statistics, as much as half of the region’s revenue comes from gambling alone. This can be traced back to the history of the region and its special place in the Chinese political system. Gambling is prohibited in China but allowed in Macau, which is why both Chinese and international players converge there in huge numbers.
The city made almost $38 billion out of gambling alone in 2018. The Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) – which administers gambling in Macau – also has a great influence on the city’s economic policy.
Gambling is banned in most of the US, with a few states being the exception. It’s no surprise gambling statistics in the United States show that most of the industry’s revenue comes from Nevada, home of the world-renowned Las Vegas, where gambling is legal. At this point, annual gambling profits in the US are about $261 billion, and the industry is responsible for about 2 million jobs.
In the US, the gambling industry is run on a state-by-state basis. In recent times, many states have moved towards legalizing online gambling while keeping land-based casinos illegal in most of the country.
According to worldwide casino statistics in 2021, the UK has a steadily growing casino market that shows no intention of slowing down anytime soon. The country allows practically all forms of gambling: land-based casinos, poker rooms, bingo, and online gambling.
Remote and online gambling have been growing especially quickly; scores of new online casinos are opening every year in Britain. The UK Gambling Commission handles the legal side of the industry and takes great pains to tax offshore gambling ventures, since the global online gambling market is on the rise.
Gambling statistics for 2021 tell us that as many as 80% of Australians gamble regularly. That’s why the industry takes in about $18 billion every year. That’s not the only thing interesting about gambling demographics in Australia. The industry has become much more diverse in recent years; gambling was an almost entirely male-dominated pastime 20 years ago, but nowadays it’s almost equally popular with both sexes.
So-called “pokies” are the most common way to gamble in the Land Down Under. Pokies are local fruit and slot machines found in bars, pubs, and other entertainment establishments around the country.
Canada has a rather liberal approach to the gambling industry, and that’s noticeable in its casino revenue statistics. The industry makes about $13 billion a year, mostly from land-based casinos that are allowed to operate in specific areas of the country – mostly in British Columbia and Ontario.
Canada is also a world-leader in innovations, allowing it to play a big part in the world of online gambling, where the future of the industry lies. Millennials are also a big market for the Canadian gambling industry since as many as 20% of them visit a casino at least once a month.
Singapore is a fairly new addition to this list, but the country’s liberal pro-business policies have also helped the gambling industry find its customers. It’s interesting, however, that there are almost no online gambling stats for Singapore since most of the industry’s revenues come from land-based casinos. This is strange for such a tech-savvy country, and it may change soon.
The rules are also different for locals than they are for tourists. The country charges higher fees for locals as part of a program designed to fight gambling addiction.
Germany has interesting gambling stats since it has just recently made the practice legal in the first place. There’s a big boom in interest and revenue from the industry, but it’s still early to tell whether it’s a novelty or if Germany really is a new player in the industry to watch out for.
For years online gambling has been a legal gray area in Germany, but given how many people gamble in the country, the government has simply decided to legalize what was already a common practice and to establish rules on the matter while also collecting taxes.
Gambling is legal in only four areas of the Russian Federation and outlawed in the rest of the country. However, online gambling statistics show that in this area the market is liberalizing; most Russian gambling is moving online, where it targets a younger demographic. Overall gambling industry revenues are therefore on the rise.
The governmental institution regulating gambling is called TSUPIS (Центр Учёта Переводов Интерактивных Ставок, or Center for Accounting of Interactive Bet Transactions), and all internal betting transactions must be made through it. Online casino games, poker, and especially esports are the most popular games in Russia at this time.
Diving Deeper into Gambling Statistics
There’s more to the gambling industry than revenue numbers and governing rules. However, since it’s a heavily regulated industry in most of the world and it’s moving online rapidly, there’s a lot of available data about the ins and outs of the business.
This is a unique opportunity for those countries that are changing their regulations and entering into the industry. They can learn from other nations that have made mistakes in the past and to know their customers more genuinely.
Here are some stats to show you where the industry is heading.
1. 38.6% of gambling revenue in the UK is now generated online.
With demographics fractured across international borders, it’s almost impossible to answer the question: How many people gamble in the world? We can, however, safely say that the internet is helping that number grow. Online gambling stats show that the internet accounted for 38.6% of British gambling revenue in 2018-19.
2. The global gambling market is now worth $565.5 billion.
There used to be a time when the gambling industry was concentrated in a few specific areas of the world. This is no longer the case; the industry is now truly global. That’s partly due to the changes in technology needed for gambling and partly because more of the world is coming out of poverty and taking part in new industries.
At this point, the global gambling market size is about $565.5 billion, with plenty of regional variations in terms of revenue.
3. The US is no longer the world’s biggest gambling market.
The gambling world has changed a lot in recent years, and what used to be a US-dominated (or, more accurately, a Vegas-dominated) industry is no more. Macau and a variety of Australian casinos have taken a big bite of the market that was once centered around Las Vegas, thanks mostly to online gambling rules in those countries. According to Vegas gambling statistics, the city is now third in the world when it comes to per capita spending in casinos.
4. Non-gambling entertainment is nearly as important for casinos as gambling.
Not everyone comes to Vegas to gamble, and that’s also the case with other famous gambling destinations. For decades, casinos have worked on making their offer more appealing to broader audiences and providing other sources of entertainment for those who don’t gamble.
According to the casino revenue statistics that are published monthly in Vegas, as many as half of all visitors now come to the city for reasons other than gambling. Tourists also gamble less than you think, with the largest chunk of gambling industry revenue coming from seasoned gamblers and locals.
5. Europe leads the way in online gambling with 49.2% of the global market.
Even though the US is often seen as the innovator in most industries, when it comes to online gambling, Europe now leads the way. It’s one of the world’s biggest gambling markets not only online, but with a growing demand for land-based establishments. The reason why countries such as Malta are leaders in the online gambling field is mostly due to their liberal laws, as opposed to the heavy regulation of the US market.
The EU currently holds about 49% of the global online betting market. Soon, the Asia Pacific region will also be more lucrative than the US, according to the relevant online gambling industry statistics.
6. The online poker market grew an astounding 240% during the COVID-19 lockdown.
(Poker Industry Pro)
Many things have changed in the industry recently, but not the most popular game. Even though a lot of the global gambling market is now moving online, it’s still poker that brings in the most players and the most revenue.
Due to the popularity, scalability, and minimal infrastructure needed to establish a gambling institution focused on poker, poker industry statistics are proving to be strong across all markets. In just a short period of time during the height pandemic, the poker industry in the US and the EU grew more than 240%. This can obviously be attributed to people having much more time to kill at home.
7. Sports betting is forecast to be worth up to $8 billion by 2025.
The most popular games are still casino games and slots, but those who are familiar with the industry know that sports betting is its second-biggest source of revenue. Most gambling facts and statistics are a bit behind the curve since it takes time for the change in behavior to accumulate. But even now, betting on sports online is a billion-dollar industry.
The chances that annual revenues from sports betting in the US will rise to about $8 billion by 2025. That’s a huge increase since sports betting doesn’t currently form a huge slice of the US online gambling market, but it looks like it will in the future.
8. In the US alone, it is estimated that esports betting generated around $14 billion in revenue in 2020.
It’s important to note that the definition of what we consider a “sport” has evolved and expanded in recent years. Online sports betting statistics include esports in most cases, and that’s one of the fastest-growing parts of the gambling world to take into account.
In the US alone, betting on esports brings in as much as $14 billion a year. This is an industry especially suited to younger users who are astute when it comes to online games but don’t follow traditional sports to the same extent as older generations.
9. China leads the world in gambling addiction.
Even though China isn’t a world leader in income from gambling, nor does it have the most liberal gambling laws, it still leads the world in one negative gambling metric. According to statistics on gambling addiction, China is the worst-affected country in this field.
This is partly due to how important gambling is for socializing in Chinese culture, and partly because treatments used to fight addiction in the West are less commonly used in China. Chinese medical professionals claim that gambling is one of the biggest public health issues in the country; as many as 80% of Chinese experts believe so.
10. US black-market gambling generates as much $67 billion annually.
The gambling industry is heavily regulated partly because it’s easy to tax and partly due to how dangerous gambling addiction can be. However, history has shown that prohibition rarely works fully, so there will always be a market for illegal gambling out there.
It’s difficult to come up with illegal gambling statistics since they’re typically so well hidden, but the best estimates suggest that the black market is worth between $60 and $150 billion annually in the US.
11. The social gambling industry is worth almost $4 billion.
Selling gambling as a social experience is still one of the best ways to go about it. The rise of internet gambling and niche games and practices is noticeable, but for the most part, social gambling is still the most common industry selling point.
Almost all statistics of gambling show that people want to experience gambling in a group and as a part of larger entertainment experience. That’s why the social casino market has grown steadily over the years and is now worth around $4 billion. Overall, the casino business has grown by about 25 percent since 2013.
12. Social responsibility remains important in the gambling industry.
The gambling industry has always tried to improve its standing in the community and make itself appear like a socially responsible business. It does this in a variety of ways, starting with helping to battle addiction, since gambling addiction statistics indicate a rise in this problem with the younger population in particular.
At the same time, a UK study shows that that country’s gambling industry is also one of its biggest charitable donors. In Australia, many sports betting companies contribute by supporting local sports teams and youth organizations.
13. The world’s biggest casinos are in Macau.
One of the most cited casino industry facts is that the biggest casino in the world is located in the US and is run and operated by Indigenous people in Oklahoma. This is true, and that particular casino is the largest one operating in the world.
However, four of the top five on the list are located in Macau, which makes it safe to say that at this point, Macau is the world capital of luxury gambling and entertainment. The Chinese region’s top gambling centers are mega-casinos, and gambling destinations around the world now look to Macau for inspiration.
14. Sports betting is a game for the young.
Sports betting is an interesting outlier in the gambling industry. It’s smaller in scale than other forms of gambling, but it’s growing quickly. What really sets it apart, however, is that it’s primarily a game for younger players. According to internet gambling statistics, it’s mostly younger and wealthier people who bet on sports avidly, with 44% of sports bettors being under 35 years old.
It’s interesting to follow how these players will act later in life. Will they keep up the habit, will they move on to other gambling games, or will they stop gambling altogether? This demographic might also be engaged in online gambling from a young age, which could provide a lot of data for the industry to use throughout the years.
15. Australian businessman Harry Kakavas gambled AU$1.5 billion and lost $30 million in just over a year.
Risk is what makes high-roller games so fun and exciting, but one of the casino statistics that is rarely mentioned is how much a person can lose when they’re willing to go all-in. One of the biggest long-term losses in casino history was recorded in 2015 when Australian real estate salesman Harry Kakavas staked AU$1.5 billion over 14 months on a high-end baccarat game, losing $30 million in the process.
After the loss, Kakavas sued Melbourne’s Crown Casino, claiming that it took advantage of his gambling addiction by tempting him with luxury offers. He lost that lawsuit as well and went down in history in a way no one wants to.
16. Blackjack has the best odds of all casino games.
While innovation has changed the way casinos look and operate, the most popular gambling games have remained essentially the same. Among these, poker and blackjack remain firm favorites. Those who take note of gambling statistics will point out that, of all casino games, blackjack has the smallest house edge.
The odds are still in the favor of the casino, but only by between 0.5% and 1%. It’s also advantageous in that you’re not playing against professionals like you would in poker. Blackjack is also one of the easiest casino games to learn and to play.
The gambling industry has been around for centuries and will remain a big part of the world economy for years to come. It’s an industry that’s very much dependent on changing technology and that has been affected – both positively and negatively – by globalization. That’s noticeable in demographics statistics, as well as in the industry’s revenue predictions.
There’s also a lot of innovation in terms of what you can bet on and how you can bet. Nowadays you can place a multi-leg sports bet on the weekend’s action from the convenience of your own smartphone. These changes – along with the rise of esports and virtual sports – are ushering in a new era of gambling.