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What are the Biggest Gambling Markets in the World?

Personal_Finance / Gambling Mar 30, 2017 - 04:51 PM GMT

By: Submissions

Personal_Finance

When you hear the word "gambling", Las Vegas may be the first destination that pops into your mind. However, you might be shocked to learn that while the United States is one of the world's largest gambling markets it's not the largest in every aspect of the industry.


In fact, in a recent article by The Economist, according to consultancy H2 Gambling Capital (H2G), the United States placed 5th in terms of its "Biggest gamblers, loss per resident adult, $" analysis. Believe it or not, but Australia is actually the gambling industry's most lucrative market in this regard. H2G reported that betting losses per resident adult in the country totaled to $990 in 2016, which is 40% higher than the runner-up country, Singapore. 

You might wonder why Australia tops the gambling market in this regard. The reason is that the most popular form of gaming in the nation is pokies, the Australia slang term for electronic poker machines, most notably slots. While slots are popular in other markets around the world -  as there are many online gaming websites accepting MasterCard or other form of payment to bet on these games -  the bet sizes for these games are typically capped at lower levels. In Australia, on the other hand, where the industry has been deregulated since the 1980's, gamblers can lose up to $1,150 an hour!

Still, the United States claims top spot for H2G's "Biggest loss by country, $bn" with punters' losses amounting to a whopping $117 billion last year. Moreover, many of the losses didn't even come from legal betting. An estimated $150 billion was wagered illegally on sports alone in 2016. However, in terms of money spent in gambling per person, Ireland and Finland reportedly dominate America due to their legal sports betting markets.

Another big gambling market is, of course, China, particularly Macau and Hong Kong. That being said, while the consultancy had initially expected China to surpass the US as the world's largest market in 2020, after the nation's government announced the anti-corruption campaign in China back in 2013, this stopped Chinese government officials from entertaining  in the casinos of Macau. This hurt the Chinese gambling industry profits, knocking them down by 20%. Since this crackdown on corruption, the market has had a hard time recovering.

Yet, not all Asian gambling markets are struggling. In contrast to China, Japan remains the world's third largest gambling market. While Japan has seen its yearly revenues steadily dropping since 2003, due to tight regulations, some clever firms have worked around these regulations without breaking the law. For instance, a popular game known as "pachinko", which is not unlike pinball, is able to avoid being classified as gambling because it awards "special prizes". However, winners of these prizes can trade them for cash at kiosks that are separate from the pachinko parlors.

With that in mind, however, in the future, Japan may become an even bigger player in the gambling market as a new law passed in December permits casinos in the country for the first time. 

This is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any trading losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors before engaging in any investing and trading activities.


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