What are the world’s biggest gambling countries?

Gambling is a pastime for many all over the world. With the thrill of gambling drawing people back in time and time again, it’s not surprising that it’s one of the highest grossing industries. The global gambling industry is estimated to reach 495 billion US dollars this year. So, where in the world is gambling the most popular? Here are the top gambling countries across the globe.


The internet becoming commonplace has seen a rise in gambling in many countries. None more so than India, which is now progressing its digital technologies faster than the USA. It’s no surprise that this has resulted in an increase of online gambling. Indians are most often found playing online poker games or fantasy.

United Kingdom

The UK steals the number one spot for the biggest gambling country. It may come as a surprise but under 21s are legally allowed to gamble in the UK. The legal age for gambling is set at 18 and many under 21s like to try their luck. Under 21s account for a massive 65% of the gambling population which has resulted in £14.4 billion as of December 2018.


A large percentage of the Australian population enjoy gambling. Whether it’s a habit or a one-off, Australia’s most popular game is machine poker. It’s estimated that each gambling adult spends up to $990 which in 2017 accumulated to $24 billion for the gambling industry.


It goes without saying that China would make the top five, since it’s the most populous country in the world. Even though online gambling and bricks and mortar casinos are prohibited in China, the population are still allowed to take part in lotteries, sports betting and Mahjong (a tile-based game). Unfortunately, this has resulted in a problem with children and teenagers gambling, which the authorities strongly advise against.


Gambling has always been popular in Ireland. At the moment, gamblers in Ireland are most commonly betting on horse races, followed closely by card games. The Irish also like to try their luck on the lotteries. In 2016, Irish gamblers were spending an estimated $550 per adult per year. Gambling is often seen as a source of enjoyment and it’s not uncommon for gambling, like casino tables, to be present during special events in Ireland.


Gambling has become very popular in Finland. So much so, in fact, that their government has put in place a number of regulations to control the industry. As well as advertising restrictions, Finnish people can get free counselling if they’re considered to be addicted. However, for the most-part, it’s seen as a fun activity, especially for those over the age of 65.

The future of gambling

There’s one thing that all the top gambling countries have in common: the internet. It’s easier than ever to gamble whenever and wherever you want. It could be in your spare time, on the commute to work or as a guilty pleasure during a sporting event. All it takes is a device and an internet connection and you have the gambling industry at your fingertips. Always remember to gamble responsibly and seek advice if you feel like your gambling has become a problem.


Why has Macau casino revenue fallen flat?

Known as the Las Vegas of Asia, Macau is a hub of grandeur, glamour and gambling. The autonomous territory is hugely popular with locals and tourists alike, seeing over 3 million visitors in January 2019 alone. But, even with an increase in the number of visitors, the overall revenue generated from gambling in the city has fallen in recent years.

With the online gambling market set to be worth a whopping 94.4 billion U.S. dollars in 2024, it appears more people are going digital. With more people opting to play live roulette online, rather than in person, what does that mean for Macau’s land based casinos? What has caused this sudden drop in revenue? And what can be done about it?

Chinese New Year drop

Although casino revenue rose 4.4% in February this year, the gross gaming revenue for the January and February Chinese New Year period was around 0.5% lower than the previous year, totalling around 50.31 billion MOP (Macanese Pataca). January alone saw a 5% decrease in revenue, the first year on year decline since July 2016. But is this a repeat of the 2014-2016 crash that saw revenue fall by 36%?

According to JP Morgan’s head of Asia Gaming, Lodging & Leisure, DS Kim, dropping 5% in revenue “wasn’t that bad”. He explains that January was the third consecutive month that beat expected gaming revenue. Grant Govertsen, managing director at Union Gaming, supports Kim, putting the decrease in revenue down to 2019’s early New Year.

In 2018, the holiday fell on February 16th, 11 days later than it did this year. So, as Govertsen points out, January bore the brunt of the pre-holiday slowdown and February benefited from the premium player boom after the celebrations.

Public smoking ban

Another factor that could impact the number of players in Macau’s casinos is the recent public smoking ban in the city. As of January 1st 2019, all indoor areas in casinos and airports must follow strict no smoking rules, with the only exception being government approved smoking lounges.

All previously approved smoking areas are now discontinued, with casinos needing to apply for new smoking lounges in their premises. The lounge managers also have to be fully compliant with the new regulations, including ordering illegal smokers to extinguish their cigarettes immediately. Failure to comply with these rules could result in a fine of MOP 200,000.

The main impact of this smoking ban is that it has been extended to include VIP areas, affecting those spending larger sums of money and therefore decreasing the overall revenue significantly.

Slower economic growth

Senior analyst at Sanford Bernstein, Vitaly Umansky, also believes that the revenue decrease is partly down to slower economic growth in China. 2018 saw China’s slowest economic growth in almost three decades, with a number of factors impacting the economy.

A rapidly aging population, decreasing birth rate and tightening global economy are all impacting China’s economy. Of course, with a decreased economic progression, and a halt in wage growth, the disposable income of China’s population has dropped significantly.

So, with less money to spend, limited room for smoking and a shorter Chinese New Year, Macau’s casinos are feeling the pinch this year. Although, with February’s total revenue hitting MOP 25.37 billion (around 3.17 billion US Dollars), it doesn’t appear that they will be in financial difficulty any time soon.


AGB to host Asia Gaming Genealogy Tree on 16th May in Macau

In lieu of the 3rd edition of the Asia Gaming Awards, leading online gaming news publisher Asia Gaming Brief (AGB) is announcing the launch of one of its most ambitious projects – the Asia Gaming Genealogy Tree and Reunion Dinner, set to take place on Wednesday, 16 May, 2018 at St. Regis, Macau.

The “Asia Gaming Genealogy Tree” is a significant undertaking pioneered by AGB which will serve to map out the key connections and networks within Asia’s gaming industry and the company has announced that it will be joining forces with the famous ‘Suppliers Network Cocktail Party’, held each year during G2E Asia week.

An ongoing project, the Gaming Tree will identify and bring to light the network of people who have dedicated their careers to shaping the Asia Gaming Industry. Who did they work with and when, where have they gone since, and where are they now?

Whether you are new to the industry, or a seasoned veteran, the Gaming Tree will become an essential tool for identifying the keys movers & shakers in the industry and their respective networks.

As a pioneer in the industry, AGB has always been committed to constantly innovating and providing the industry with engaging projects and platforms that make a difference.

Along those lines, AGB will be replacing its existing “Asia Gaming Awards” event with the debut of the “Asia Gaming Genealogy Tree” and its accompanying Cocktails and Annual Reunion Dinner, set to take place on Wednesday, 16th May at St. Regis, Macau.

Over the years, the Gaming Tree will continue to grow in tandem with the industry, with each year’s update presented at the Annual Reunion Dinner, bringing together old friends and creating the opportunity for new connections.

More information can be found on the Asia Gaming Tree Facebook page here.


Asia Gaming Awards 2017 winners announced in grand event

Asia Gaming Brief (AGB) announced the winners of Asia Gaming Awards 2017, recognizing achievements from Asia’s leading land-based operators, suppliers and entrepreneurs.

Held at the Parisian Macao on Tuesday, on the sidelines of G2E Asia, each of the 12 winners on the night took home a magnificently crafted award, moulded into the shape of a dragon – a symbol of strength and good fortune.

Each of the category winners on the night were selected through a voting process by the industry, as well as input from the Judging Panel and members of the Organizing Committee. The awards were presented in three different categories:

  • Land-based categories, recognizing the best operators and properties in the land-based casino industry.
  • Supplier categories, recognizing the best products, service and suppliers in the online and land-based gaming industry
  • Online categories, recognizing the best online casino and sportsbetting products, and innovations.

The Asia Gaming Awards 2017 Award winners are:

Land based Categories:

Best Gaming Operator – Galaxy Entertainment Group

Best Integrated Resort – Galaxy Macau – GEG

Best Gaming Property – Galaxy Starworld – GEG

Best Gaming Area Design – Wynn Palace – WYNN

Supplier Categories:

Best Table Game Solution – Scientific Games

Best Slot Solution – Aristocrat’s Lightning Link

Best Electronic Table Game Solution – Aruze Gaming

Best Industry Supplier – Angel

Online Categories:

Best Online Casino Solution – SA Gaming

Best Online Sports Betting Solution – BBIN

Best Online Solution – Asia Gaming

Best Mobile/ Social Solution – Playstudios

The Awards also crowned MGM China as the company with the most meaningful contribution in the field of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), as well as a total of three “Emerging Leaders” – entrepreneurs, innovators and industry shakers seen as likely to shape the industry over the years to come.

Emerging Leaders:

  • Nathan Carle, VP of Slot Operations, MGM China
  • Long Jiawei Jace, Assistant Casino Manager, Marina Bay Sands
  • Rui Proença, Partner, MdME

“We were overwhelmed by the industry support of industry at the Asia Gaming Awards this year,” said Luis Pereira, co-managing director of Asia Gaming Brief, commenting on the night.

“It is our honor to develop a platform that celebrates the Asian gaming industry which is recognized by industry peers. We will continue to support this exciting industry, so look for us again in May next year.”


Nominations now open for Asia Gaming Awards 2017, winners to be announced in grand ceremony on 16th May

The second edition of the Asia Gaming Awards takes place on the first evening of G2E Asia, Tuesday, May 16, at The Parisian, Macau. The event convenes key stakeholders from the Asian gaming industry – operators, regulators, suppliers, and service providers – to celebrate achievements within the gaming industry.

The Asia Gaming Awards is the first regional event of its kind to listen to the voice of the industry. Members are asked to nominate and cast their vote, alongside an esteemed panel of judges.

A total of 12 awards will be presented across the land-based and online gaming spheres, along with a prize for “Outstanding Contribution in the Field of Corporate Social Responsibility.” The awards will also elect up to eight rising stars, who are viewed as likely to shape the future of the industry.

In 2016, the awards enjoyed immense industry participation, collating more than 1,000 nominations and 8,000 votes across the categories.

Produced by Asia Gaming Brief (AGB), in association with G2E Asia and The Innovation Group, the Asia Gaming Awards aim to create an independent, fair and representative awards event that recognizes significant achievements within the Asian gaming industry.

Building on last year’s event, the awards this year have been tweaked to better represent the industry. There is a new Best Gaming Property category aimed at bringing in the region’s smaller non-IR operations, while Best Gaming Area Design will include nominations for specific areas, rather than the property as a whole.

In the online sphere, the supplier category was amended to ensure that all nominations are for a product in operation in Asia, rather than naming a company. Nominees must also have Asia as their predominant region of business.

Finally, the shortlist of nominees in each category has been increased from five to a maximum of seven following the significant number of submissions in the inaugural edition.

Luis Pereira, managing director of Asia Gaming Brief, which produces the event said: “We were overwhelmed and humbled by the industry support and participation in the inaugural edition of the Asia Gaming Awards. We will constantly tweak the formula of fairness and transparency to best reflect the industry outlook. We felt Asia needed a special platform to celebrate its own achievements and these are the first truly independent and impartial industry focused awards and, more importantly, recognized by the industry peers.”

Rosalind Wade, managing director of Asia Gaming Brief, said: “We are proud to be producing the second edition of the Asia Gaming Awards, which has arguably become a high point in the Asian gaming events calendar after just one edition. It brings the industry together to honor the outstanding contributions from across all spheres.”

Josephine Lee, chief operating officer of Reed Exhibitions Greater China, said: “G2E Asia is proud to be associated in organizing the second edition of the Asia Gaming Awards produced by Asia Gaming Brief. G2E Asia undeniably provides the ideal platform to gather over 350 industry leaders and stakeholders from across the region, to congregate and witness the outstanding achievements of the industry at the Awards Ceremony held concurrently at G2E Asia.”

Nominations are now open for this year’s Asia Gaming Awards, it is open until Friday 28 April 2017.

Once collected from the industry and the Judging panel, the Organizing Committee will tally all nominations and shortlist up to seven nominees per award category for voting.

For more information on the Asia Gaming Awards, process, categories and criteria, please visit or email [email protected].

Gaming Legal & Regulatory

Columns of the World's leading Gambling Lawyer-For GLaws readers

Professor I. Nelson Rose is recognized as one of the world’s leading experts on gambling laws. He has published more than 1,500 works on gambling and related issues. His works are often cited in U.S. courts and he has testified as an expert in various Common Law countries. His book titled “Gambling and the Law” is considered to be the best treatise on gambling laws so far.

Professor Rose’s website Gambling and the Law contains some of his articles and columns and is a must read for any reader interested in knowing about the happenings of the gaming industry. Professor Rose’s profile on Wikipedia can be accessed here.

The master of gambling laws

Professor Rose has been kind enough to allow his articles to be published on our website. I am reproducing his article titled ‘Gaming Education in Asia’ where he speaks about the development of gaming law as a branch of law and predicts Asia to be ‘one of the fastest growing gaming markets in the world.’ While the article speaks of the gaming centers in Macao, Singapore and Japan; his insights would be relevant to India where casinos have been running successfully in Goa and Sikkim.

Gaming Education in Asia

Should the government on Taiwan follow the integrated resorts model of Singapore, or the casinos first, everything else second model of Macau? And should it depend primarily on patrons from Mainland China, or attempt to attract more local players, say, by building a tunnel from Penghu to Formosa?

As for Singapore — will the S$100 per day fee for residents work to help compulsive gamblers? Or will it hurt the casinos, the way restrictions on locals have left so many casinos in South Korea struggling?

When is Japan going to legalize casinos, and what will it do with its enormous grey-market pachinko industry? Will the plans for massive expansions in the Philippines and Vietnam succeed? Will Thailand be the next to legalize casinos?

And what about China itself, where the Peoples Republic of China has now experimented not only with Macau, but also with video lottery terminals and betting on horseracing?

All of these Asian gaming issues have one thing in common: They are all actually being studied in Asia, in respected universities.

But the movement to bring gaming into academia is still in its early stages, and not only in Asia.

Professor William R. Eadington of the University of Nevada, Reno, deserves the credit for the breakthrough treatment of legal gambling as a respectable area for study. He created the 1st International Conference on Gambling & Risk Taking in 1974, “as a venue for the presentation of academic research on gambling issues.” Fifteen years later, he founded the Institute for the Study of Gambling and Commercial Gaming, which he correctly describes as “the first academically oriented program of its kind.”

Ten years later, I began teaching the first law school class on Gaming Law. Today, there are two rival organizations of gaming lawyers, the International Association of Gaming Advisors and the International Masters of Gaming Law, and an International Association of Gaming Regulators.

But in the early days, gaming as an area of serious study met resistance, even in Nevada. In Fall 1993 and Spring 1994, I was the first Visiting Scholar at the Institute in Reno. I taught Gaming Law to undergraduates, graduates, practitioners and regulators; at the time, it was the only Gaming Law class taught in the entire state of Nevada.

Today, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, has its own Center of Gaming Research, headed by noted researcher and librarian David G. Schwartz; the William S. Boyd School of Law; and an International Gaming Institute. The late Shannon Bybee, one of my co-authors on the first Gaming Law casebook, was director of the Gaming Institute. He was followed by Patricia Becker, who also was an outstanding casino executive, regulator and gaming lawyer.

And on August 2, 2006, the university opened its first international campus, UNLV Singapore Harrah Hotel College. The Singapore campus now offers an Executive Masters Degree in Hospitality Administration and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Hotel Administration.

But Singapore was not the first Asian country to see an academic program related to gambling.

The University of Macau inaugurated the groundbreaking Institute for the Study of Commercial Gaming (ISCG) in 2003. The University even recruited an expert poker player as the ISCG’s first director, Canadian professor Jason Z. Gao.

As a coincidence, I was teaching International Gaming Law to both American and Chinese law students at Sun Yat-Sen University in Zhuhai, just across the border from Macau, in June 2004. This gave me the chance to present a guest lecture at the University and for my students and me to tour the newly opened and fantastically successful Sands.

The ISCG’s current director, Dr. Davis K.C. Fong, described the “three levels of training program in our center:” Up to this moment, we have conducted 3 batches (150 students total) of Diploma in Casino Management (one-year). All of them are part-time students and 95% of them are working at different casinos in Macau. In 2008 the ISCG set up the first Executive Development Program (we call it GAME), which aims to train middle- to high-level casino employees. Beside this, we have conducted several training programs or seminars (tailor-made) for different interested parties from Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Europe, Japan, Hong Kong, and the U.S.

According to Prof. Ricardo C.S. Siu, Gaming Management Program Coordinator, the University of Macau’s Faculty of Business Administration has reacted to the explosion of interest in integrated resorts by revising the program “into a new B.Sc. in Gaming and Hospitality, to be effective from Fall 2009.” Around 40 students will be provided common knowledge about the modern business of casino resorts. After completing the first two years of studies, students could select from two streams (concentrations) — Gaming Management, and Convention and Hospitality Management. In addition, they could use related major electives to enhance their professional knowledge in particular areas (e.g., customer service management, topics in data analysis, event management, etc.)

I have been fortunate for the last few years to be co-teaching a post-graduate class in Gaming Law at the University of Macau with Prof. Jorge A.F. Godinho. The University kept up its ties with the Portuguese-speaking world, so our students, most already lawyers, have been from Angola, Mozambique and East Timor, as well as China.

The Faculty of Law masters program is based on the European model, so students have to write and defend a thesis before a jury composed of three professors. In February I helped in the questioning of three lawyers from mainland China on “Legal Issues of Pathological Gambling,” “A Legal Study of Casino Credit” and “Legal Issues on Lotteries in China.” All were awarded LL.M.s. Prof. Godinho tries to find jobs for the students and to keep as many as possible in Macau, if that is where they want to pursue their legal careers.

The University of Macau’s friendly competitor, Macao Polytechnic Institute (MPI), has also begun to accept gaming as a legitimate area of academic research. Dr. Wuyi Wang of MPI’s Center of Social Economic Studies, has led the way, including co-authoring papers on Macau’s VIP rooms with Prof. Eadington.

MPI, Macau’s Institute for Tourism Studies, and the Macao Tourism and Casino Career Center team up each year with the China Center for Lottery Studies (CCLS) at Peking University for an International Conference of the Gaming Industry and Public Welfare, held in Beijing. According to Wang Xuehong, Ph.D., CCLS’s Executive Director, before the current economic crisis, lottery sales alone in mainland China were growing 50% per year.

All this in a technically communist country that banned gambling in 1949 as a “social evil,” lumping it in with drugs and prostitution.

Japan is the last major industrialized nation to not have casinos. If that changes, it will be due to the ground works laid down in academic conferences organized by Ichiro Tanioka, Ph.D., head of the Osaka University of Commerce and a world-champion go player, and others, including Prof. Sasaki Kazuaki, Nihon University Tokyo, and Dr. Jan McMillen, Director of the Australian National University Center for Gambling Research.

Once the economic recession/depression is over — and there are signs we are already off the bottom — Asia will once again be the fastest growing gaming market in the world.