Gambling is one of the most popular pastimes for people all over the world. The risk and high potential returns keep gamblers returning to their favourite games time and again. It doesn’t come as much of a surprise that gambling is one of the highest-grossing industries as well. In 2019, gambling establishments were estimated to have reached a pre-tax profit or gross gambling yield of $495 billion US dollars. Casinos and sportsbooks are raking in some big figures, but where in the world is gambling the most popular?

Even if you were living under a rock for the past few decades, you would certainly know that Las Vegas is the home of glitzy and glamorous gambling. What you may not know is that, despite all the gambling activity that goes on in Sin City, the US is nowhere near the top five gambling destinations in the world. If we’re going with the latest data, then the top five nations are those you’d least expect. Let’s look at some of the biggest gambling countries in the world.

United Kingdom

The United Kingdom steals the show when it comes to gambling. This may come as a surprise before you consider that people below the age of 21 are allowed to gamble here. The nations of Scotland, Wales, England, and Northern Ireland account for close to 65% of gamblers below the age of 21. The legal gambling age in the UK is set at 18 and the gambling industry breached the £14 billion mark in 2018. The UK Gambling Commission is, however, one of the strictest regulators in the world. After making it compulsory for every casino and bookie to register with the Gamstop self-exclusion service, UK bettors moved to less regulated UK casinos not on gamstop. Many of these sites can be found through casino guides like ukcasino.xyz.

India

High-speed internet is becoming ubiquitous all over the world. This significant driver of online gambling has developed particularly faster in India. To add a bit of context, India is developing its digital technology at a faster pace than the United States. It’s, therefore, not surprising that Indians now gamble online more than people in more developed parts of the world. The Indian gambling market is dominated by fantasy and poker games.

Australia

Australians just can’t get enough of spinning slot machine reels (known as Pokies in that part of the world). According to recent estimates, each Australian gambler loses over a thousand dollars annually, which added up to $24 billion in 2017 profits for the Australian gambling industry. Online casino gambling is the next thing and could see the Australian gambling market growing even more in the coming years. Aussie gamblers are also known for their notoriety, with over 900 being banned from casinos.

China

Since it’s the most populous country, China automatically makes the top five list of top gambling countries. Even though land-based casinos are illegal in China, bettors are allowed to bet on sports, the lottery, and Mahjong. A particularly large grey gambling market in China has, unfortunately, has created an undesirable side-effect of underage gambling.

Singapore

Singapore is steadily creating a name for itself as one of the East’s premier gambling destinations. The island is also a popular gambling tourist destination and a global financial hub. You’ll, therefore, find a lot of high-stakes gambling activity in Singapore, thanks to the prolific economic activity that attracts high rollers. In 2018, Singapore raked in over $1 billion in tourist gambling revenue. The country doesn’t seem like it’s slowing down anytime soon, with casino cruises starting to pop up.

Ireland

The Irish have always been pursuing the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Currently, horse racing is the most popular form of gambling in Ireland, closely followed by card games. Irish gamblers also enjoy playing the lottery. 2016 estimates put the average annual bets per Irish adult at $550. People in Ireland also gamble for fun and it’s common for casino tables to be present during social events.

The future of gambling

All the world’s top gambling countries share one thing in common—high-speed internet. Online gambling makes casinos and sportsbooks more accessible and allows bettors to wager anywhere. As more states in the US legalise gambling, time will tell if the country will shake up the current top five.