People speak about the luck of the Irish and the propensity of the Chinese to wager on any given variable, but when it comes to gambling, these nations are way off the pace. No, if we’re talking about biggest, there’s another country which wagers way more than Ireland, China or even the US. The latest numbers detailing the net losses per resident have just been published and the country topping the list is none of the foregoing. In fact, it’s Australia.
According to figures just published, the world’s biggest gamblers hail from down under, where in 2016 they conspired to notch up winnings totalling $385 billion. No nation is that lucky unfortunately, and the take away from that colossal sum is that Australia’s collective losses were greater still. Figures published by The Economist (below) place the average Aussie’s losses at $990 in 2016, or almost $3 a day.
To the general public, Australia hardly leaps to mind as a gambling hotbed. Yet industry insiders know it is far and away their most lucrative market: according to H2 Gambling Capital (H2G), a consultancy, betting losses per resident adult there amounted to $990 last year. That is 40% higher than Singapore, the runner-up, and around double the average in other Western countries. To read more about our analysis, search "The world’s biggest gamblers" via our website economist.com #TheEconomist #gambling
The second placed nation in the list of shame/honour is from Asia, but it’s not the Chinese – it’s Singapore. Their annual average losses of $650 per person seem trifling in comparison to the Australians, while Ireland, in third place with $500, prove that their much vaunted luck isn’t all it’s cranked up to be.
When these figures are viewed on a per country basis collectively, Australia falls to fifth, its $18.3 billion losses paling in comparison to the US’ $116.9 billion.
Sandwiched between the two English-speaking nations are China, Japan and, surprisingly, Italy. Delving deeper into the figures published in The Economist, a few other notable trends emerge.
For example, almost 50% of Australia’s 2016 gambling losses were incurred on non-casino gaming machines – or pokies as the Aussies like to call them.
Singaporeans on the other hand lost around half of all their bets in land-based casinos, with only a small proportion of their losses occurring online due to the country’s gambling laws. This contrasts sharply with the Irish, who lost around half of all their money on the web.
Online and offline, at casinos, sportsbooks and lotteries, the ways the world wagers differs from country to country, but the end result is much the same. Over the course of billions of dollars of bets, ultimately the house tends to come out on top.
Congratulations Australia: you are 2016’s biggest winners, and losers.
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