For residents of some countries, gambling is second nature. On average, an Australian adult loses more than $1,000 each year through gambling. As if that’s not enough food for thought, the Economist reports that over 50 percent of those loses come by way of non-casino gaming machines. While the Land Down Under may boast the most losses per adult resident, it’s far from the leader in terms of overall gambling losses. In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at the top five gambling countries, as measured by annual losses. These countries lead the way in terms of both casino and non-casino gaming, and the proliferation of online gaming seems likely to drive totals even higher. Without further ado, let’s examine the world’s gambling leaders.
5. Great Britain
Great Britain comes in fifth in terms of annual gambling losses with an estimated total of $19.9 billion. The Economist estimates that the average loss per resident adult in Great Britain is just shy of $400. Unlike many of the other leading gambling nations, Britain splits its wagers evenly amongst a variety of gambling forms. Just 10 percent of all spending is attributed to casinos, which is less than non-casino gaming machines, betting, lotteries and online gaming. Despite their love of putting their luck to the test, it seems the British aren’t overly thrilled with the prospects of casino gaming.
Italy’s annual gambling losses total $23.9 billion, with adult residents losing more than $450 each year, on average. The vast majority of Italy’s gambling takes place on non-casino gaming machines, with lotteries coming in a distant second place. In fact, casinos are one of the most unpopular options for gamblers living in Italy. The Economist suggests that interactive online gaming outpaces casino gambling by a slim margin.
Japan takes the bronze medal of gambling losses, racking up $31.4 billion each year. Despite this total, the average loss per resident in Japan is relatively low, coming in at less than $300 per year. Since casino gaming is currently illegal throughout the Land of the Rising Sun, non-casino gaming machines are the top choice for Japanese gamblers. A pinball-style game called pachinko is incredibly popular throughout Japan. In order to skirt gambling regulations, parlors don’t award cash. Instead, players are forced to go to a separate establishment in order to sell the metal balls that serve as a type of currency in pachinko. If it sounds overly complicated, that’s because it is.
In recent years, pressure has been mounting on lawmakers to ease restrictions on casino gaming in order to cash in on the rapid rise of the Chinese tourism industry. Neighboring South Korea has already greatly expanded its casino industry, and a number of destinations throughout Southeast Asia have followed suit. If Japan moves forward with plans to implement a Singapore-style integrated resort model near Tokyo, the country could move up this list in the coming years.
China’s annual gambling losses are estimated at $76 billion. While this may seem substantial, it’s important to remember that China’s population of 1.357 billion is the largest in the world. Despite recording the world’s second largest loss totals, China falls outside the top 20 in terms of annual losses per resident. In addition to Macau, the world’s largest gambling city, the Chinese government operates two lotteries: the China Sports Lottery and the China Welfare Lottery. According to a 2010 report, an estimated one trillion Yuan (about $154.68 million) are wagered in illegal gambling activities – including unofficial lotteries, mahjong and various card games – each year. Because these wagers weren’t accounted for in the Economist’s data, it’s likely that China’s actual gambling losses are much higher than reported.
1. United States
Home of Sin City and dozens of other casino destination, the United States is the king of gambling losses, clocking in at about $119 billion each year. That total puts the U.S. in the top five in terms of loss per resident as well, but no country can compete with Americans’ undying love for casino gaming. Of the roughly $500 lost by residents of the U.S. each year that’s attributed to gambling, over 50 percent occurs on the casino floor. Lotteries form the second-largest piece of the gambling pie, with other forms limping in far behind. With these figures in mind, it should come as no surprise that the American casino industry continues to thrive. New resorts are springing up in destinations across the country, and increased competition is putting a strain on longtime casino hotspots such as Atlantic City. The only country that spends more per resident on casino gambling is Singapore, home of the innovative Integrated Resort concept. As more Asian nations look to replicate Singapore’s success, time will tell if the Integrated Resort concept will make its way to American soil in the future.
Do you consider yourself a gambler? If so, you may just call one of these five nations home. While some can attribute their positions on the charts to huge populations, others rely on a love of chance to drive the gambling industry forward. In case you were wondering, Germany closed on the Economist’s top 20 list of the world’s biggest gamblers, with the average resident losing roughly $200 each year. In terms of total cash lost, South Africa and Greece fell at the bottom of the list, recording just $2.3 billion each.
Whether you choose to gamble in a casino or take the experience to the web by playing at Prism casino, you can take solace in the fact that you won’t be alone. People from around the world turn to gambling as a way to blow off steam and test their luck. Choose your favorite casino game, and load it on your computer with Prism’s intuitive software. In no time, you’ll be enjoying a relaxing gaming experience while participating in one of the world’s most popular pastimes. Winning a little cash along the way is just icing on the cake!