Comparing gambling laws around the world

Gambling is a huge part of many cultures around the world, with 1.6 billion people globally taking part in some form of gambling activity. Whilst there are many cultures across the world that influence the type of gambling allowed or even prohibit it completely, the global gambling industry is still set to reach $565 billion by 2022.  So where are the gambling hotspots across the world and what types of gambling is most popular? Well, we’ll answer those questions below, but surprisingly some of the most regulated and restricted countries across the world generate the highest industry revenues.

Continue reading to take a deep dive into some of the hot spots around the world for gambling and what the local laws are.

What are the global gambling hotspots?

 Whilst you would assume that the world’s gambling hotspots were either in the most liberated countries, or those countries that have high crime rates and a lot of illegal activity, surprisingly some of the world gambling hotspots are in countries that have some of the tightest restrictions. Take a look at some of these below…

  1. Macau

As an independent region in China, Macau has very different laws from the Mainland and acts as a safe haven for gamblers. Whilst Macau is a tourist and economic hotspot, 50% of its overall revenue is made up of gambling. In fact, in 2018, the city made around $38 billion. With 38 casinos, some of the world’s largest gambling centers, and state-run lotteries, the region is certainly an attractive place for gambling fans to visit. However, with increasing pressures from Beijing, the question is, how long will this last?

  1. The United States

Coming in at a second place, the United States gambling industry is worth $261 billion and holds 8.1 million jobs. Whilst Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware allow online gambling, many other states are not so tolerant with strict gambling laws, and in some states it’s not legal at all. Many land-based casinos can only legally run if they are based on a reservation or over the water and the gambling age varies greatly in each state.

That being said, state lotteries exist in most states, however sports betting on the web is completely outlawed across the US.

  1. The United Kingdom

With legalisation changes over the last two decades, gambling laws in the UK are pretty liberal compared to many other countries around the world. It’s estimated that around 32% of the population gamble on a weekly basis, with online poker games, in particular, going through a purple patch in 2020, with the number of virtual players increasing dramatically over the last 9 months.

  1. Australia

Taking the rest of the world by storm, 80% of the population in Australia participate in some form of gambling. Studies show that Australians bet more than any other country in the world, consumers spend around $18 billion a year.

  1. Canada

With a slightly more liberal approach to gambling than that of the US, the governing body of each local region manages Canada’s gambling laws. The current market is worth around 17.3 billion Canadian dollars, which physical gambling venues are allowed if they hold authorisation, although online gambling is outlawed. This being said, the law is pretty hazy with their being many loopholes for Canadian citizens participating I online gambling from a foreign provider.

Where is gambling less frequent in the world?

Whilst Japan is tolerant of one form of traditional gambling; a game called Pachinko, games such as Black Jack, Roulette and Poker are prohibited by the Japanese Penal Code. However, games including sports betting and lotteries are in fact allowed. Whilst this seems like great news for those who are a fan of betting, participants are only allowed to keep half of their winnings, whilst the other half goes to charity.

This is an intrinsic part of Japanese culture and helps to control and regulate the industry, ensuring that such games of chance remain positive and do not become an addiction or an act of greed. Never the less, Japan probably won’t be one of the world’s tourist casino destinations any time soon.

Changing Traditions

Whilst the UK is now one of the most tolerant places for gambling in the world, it hasn’t always been that way. For the best part of 500 years, Britain outlawed any kind of betting activity. The one exception to this was the horse racecourse, where participants were legally allowed to place bets before 1961.

Today the laws are quite different in which the Betting and Gambling Act of 2005 made it lawful for anyone to gamble that was over the age of sixteen can participate in the lottery and football pools, and anyone over the age of eighteen can officially gamble.

Overall, it can be seen that whilst gambling is played all over the world, there is a huge amount of variety in the different types of laws and regulations that govern the betting and gambling actions of each country. That being said, the growth of online gambling is making it much easier for people to access different types of gambling from all across the world.

About the author

Polina Tikhonova

Polina Tikhonova from Kyiv is Insider Paper’s Editor/Writer. Besides editing pieces, Polina covers articles with a focus on World affairs and politics at Insider Paper. Polina holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism. Her articles and news reports have been published by many newspapers, magazines, journals, blogs, and online media sources across the globe. Polina is fluent in English, German, Ukrainian, and Russian.

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