Different levels of gambling participation exist for a variety of reasons around the world. The high number of regular gamblers in some countries reflects a widespread, long-standing cultural acceptance of gambling. Many players will visit offshore gambling platforms even if gambling is illegal in their home country.
Europe, by some measures the world's largest gambling market, has extremely high gambling participation rates.
According to a 2019 report by the European Betting and Gaming Association, 16.5 million Europeans bet in 2018. Surprisingly, Sweden has the highest percentage of its gambling market taking place online of any European country, with nearly 60% of all bets placed on the internet. The United Kingdom has a 34 percent share of the European market, making it one of the world's largest markets.
Online gambling participation has been steadily increasing for years, according to surveys conducted by the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC). In a survey conducted by the UKGC in 2020, 47 percent of respondents said they had gambled in the previous four weeks, with 21 percent saying they had gambled online.
Many Asian countries have legalised gambling. Although there are no official statistics or numbers, it is widely acknowledged that gambling is extremely popular in China. While almost all forms of gambling are prohibited in China, Chinese players are catered to by a large number of offshore operations based in the Philippines.
According to a 2018 study, 51.5 percent of Macau residents, 52 percent of Singaporeans, and 61.5 percent of Hong Kong residents gambled in some way. Despite the fact that gambling is officially prohibited in Thailand, a 2019 report found that nearly 60% of the population gambles anyway. The same phenomenon can be seen in a number of Asian countries: no matter how strict the laws are, they can't compete with people's desire to gamble.
Sports betting is booming across Africa, with large numbers of Nigerians and Kenyans betting on football matches, particularly those in European leagues, on a regular basis. Around 60 million Nigerians between the ages of 18 and 40, or about a third of the population, bet on a regular basis, and 57 percent of Kenyans have bet in the past, according to a 2019 Geopoll survey. When looking at the younger demographic, the rate of gambling participation increases; 76 percent of Kenyans aged 17 to 35 have tried betting.
In other parts of Africa, 57 percent of Ugandan youths and 42 percent of Ghanaian youths have at least tried betting. South Africa is the continent's largest gambling market, with estimated engagement rates of up to 50%, but the country's online space is hampered by restrictive laws that only allow for online branches of established land-based retail betting shops.
Many Latin American countries are known for their love of football — and where there's a love of a sport, there's always a love of betting; nearly 60% of adults in Colombia have admitted to betting in some form. Brazil and Peru have the most high-frequency gamblers in Latin America, with 18% of respondents to a survey conducted by PR firm Sherlock Communications saying they bet once a week.
According to the same survey, 16 percent of Peruvians and Colombians bet once or more per month, and 38% of those polled — including citizens of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Colombia, and Peru — said they had gambled previously.
Free games, welcome bonuses, and special offers are the most important factors for Latin American players when choosing a bookmaker, with the exception of Colombia, where the use of a local payment processor is the most important factor.
According to many estimates, Australians gamble more than any other nationality; over 47 percent of Australians are said to gamble in some way. They also lose the most money per capita gambling, spending nearly $1000 per year, far exceeding the second-placed Singapore, where players lose just over $600 per year.
In the United States, which has the world's highest overall gambling expenditure, online casino gaming and sports betting are only recently becoming regulated. Players in states that have already legalised iGaming are quickly learning to prefer betting online; in New Jersey's first year of legalisation, 75% of sports bets were placed online.
In the United States, social casino games are also extremely popular. It's highly likely that the state-by-state rollout of iGaming schemes will be greeted with marked enthusiasm by American players, who have widespread passions for sports and betting, as well as a love of convenience.