Gambling is one of the oldest forms of entertainment in the world, with each country developing its own approach. Gambling varies around the world, with some interesting differences (and similarities) from country to country. Although the rules for table games are universal, let’s look at the top gambling countries to see how they enjoy casinos, betting, and more.
While gambling laws are fairly loose in Italy, sports betting is the most popular gambling pastime of Italians. Around 60% of the total revenue generated from gambling is from sports betting.
Italy’s gambling capital is Milan, with 10 casinos operating in the city. However, the biggest casino in Italy is the Casino de la Vallee, which can be found in Saint-Vincent.
Japan has historically been averse to gambling, but as it develops into a global player, those attitudes are starting to relax. In 2017, the country legalised casino gambling, giving international casino brands the chance to open their doors in an entirely new market.
But the usual casino classics such as poker and roulette aside, Japan has an affinity for one game in particular: pachinko, a game not dissimilar to pinball. Japan is home to countless pachinko parlours, where players try to win as many balls as possible in exchange for prizes. As players never get cash prizes, pachinko is seen as recreational rather than a form of gambling.
Other forms of gambling that are popular in Japan include sports betting (bicycles, boats, horses, and soccer, to name but a few), and mahjong. While mahjong originated in China, the game spread to Japan and it enjoys considerable popularity amongst its inhabitants.
Macau is an ex-Portuguese colony situated on the Chinese mainland, near Hong Kong. While China has largely outlawed most online and offline gambling (with the exception of state-sponsored lotteries), Macau itself is a gambling hotspot.
While China has some jurisdiction over Macau, it has not completely outlawed gambling there. This means many Chinese residents head to Macau to enjoy one of its many casinos.
When it comes to gambling, the USA is one of the most liberal countries in the world. While many states have outright banned online casinos (with the exception of Delaware, New Jersey and, of course, Nevada), there are plenty of real-world casinos that are perfectly legal to play in.
No mention of America on this list would be complete without a nod to the mecca of gambling, Las Vegas. Renowned the world over, Las Vegas is home to more than one hundred casinos, and last year 42.12 million visitors from around the world flocked to the city to enjoy its delights.
America is also known for its Native American casinos, with several large reserves specially dedicated for tribes. As this land has tribal sovereignty, it is exempt from many state laws. There are currently 460 tribal casinos in the US that are open for anyone to try.
Australia’s gambling laws are relatively lax when compared to the rest of the world, and it offers a great variety of online and live casinos for its residents, as well as several ‘pokies’ (slot machines) in pubs across most Aussie states.
Gambling laws vary from state-to-state, and Western Australia currently restricts pokies to live casinos only. Betting on sports has risen in recent years, and more than half of Aussies bet on sports on a regular basis.
Canada has a fairly liberal approach to gambling, and it is home to a variety of online casino operators (and a few poker stars too).
The country has several major live casinos, such as the Casino Niagara and the Casino de Montreal in Quebec. But it also plays host to a number of online casinos too, so Canadians can play from the comfort of their own home.
Singapore is relatively new to gambling, with the first casinos opening at Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa in 2010. Since then, it has grown into one of the biggest gambling hotspots in the world.
However, the Singaporean government is cautious about the potential for gambling addiction. As such, it has introduced a number of protective measures, including a high entrance fee for locals wishing to play, and an opt-in ban for family members.
For many years, gambling in Ireland was completely unregulated. It was previously governed by dated laws, specifically the Gaming and Lotteries Act of 1956 and the Betting Act of 1931. However, the Irish government recently set out plans to create an independent gambling regulator to monitor the country’s many live casinos.
Online casinos are still legal in Ireland, and it’s possible to sign up to most major online casino operators with ease.
Finland adopts a more progressive approach to gambling compared to other countries on this list. Its lottery is state-run and managed by the government’s education department, with profits invested back into culture, education, and arts programmes.
Surprisingly, until recently the legal age for gambling in Finland was 15, although this was raised to 18 in 2011 in an attempt to prevent gambling among children.
Finland also has a government-owned gambling operator called Ålands Penningautomatförening (Paf), which provides benefits to gamblers who spend a certain amount and are considered to be suffering from gambling addiction.
Kosovo probably isn’t a country you’d immediately think of when you’re looking at gambling around the world. But the country was thrust into the spotlight recently after two murders of casino employees led to the Kosovo government banning gambling for ten years.
Despite being one of the poorest countries in Europe, Kosovo has a thriving gambling industry and rampant addiction. However, the industry has been taken over by organised crime syndicates, leading to corruption and gang wars.
The move to ban all gambling is hoped to curb the spread of organised crime, following the example of its neighbour Albania, who did the same back in January 2019.
Gambling is a global hobby that’s enjoyed around the world. As the countries above show, it’s a diverse form of entertainment that’s done in different ways by different people. Have you got inspiration for your next international casino trip?